2 posts tagged “ALS handedness”

NFL Player Steve Gleason’s Inspiring ALS Story

Posted February 7th, 2012 by

Learn More About Steve's Advocacy Organization, Team Gleason

Did you catch the pre-game show before Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI?  If not, you missed a beautiful NBC piece about Steve Gleason, who spent seven seasons as a safety with the New Orleans Saints.

Diagnosed with ALS a year ago, Gleason now walks with a cane, and his speech has been impacted.  The new father remains upbeat, however, and has thrown his energy into ALS advocacy work through Team Gleason.  (One recent project: bringing two ALS patients to the Super Bowl to fulfill their lifelong dream.)

Tune in below for the full NBC profile, which includes an interview with Steve, 34, and his wife, Michel:

Steve’s story reminded us of two topics covered on our blog last year.  During the NBC piece, Michel states that one of her biggest fears is Steve losing ability to speak.  This devastating aspect of ALS recently came up in our interview with ALS blogger Rachael, who discussed how important her eye gaze system (which translates eye movements into words) has been since losing her speech.  She says, “It allows me to converse on an almost level footing, conveying thoughts and observations, expressing myself in my own style with all its complexities and idiosyncrasies.”

Finally, Steve is another example of an athlete being diagnosed with ALS, just like baseball player Lou Gehrig, who is indelibly associated with the disease.  The NBC piece explores the potential connection between impact sports and neurological diseases.  Other researchers, such as Dr. Martin Turner, are investigating a possible link between ALS and athleticism in general.  Check out our post “ALS and Athleticism:  What Have We Learned?” to hear more about Dr. Turner’s research and how PatientsLikeMe data on ALS handedness (i.e. which hand is dominant) has contributed to it.

ALS and Athleticism: What Have We Learned?

Posted August 18th, 2011 by

“Clinicians are used to seeing ALS patients who are or have been athletic. So is there a link, and if so, could exercise have a direct effect on the condition?”BMJ Group Podcasts

In 2010, PatientsLikeMe researchers collaborated with the University of Oxford Motor Neuron Disease (MND) Centre in the UK on a study about ALS handedness. What they discovered is that when ALS patients get symptoms in their arms first, they’re more likely to get them in their dominant arm. However, there was no correlation between lower limb onset and the dominant leg. This noteworthy research was presented at the ALS MND Symposium the same year.

BMJ Group Podcasts, Featuring Dr. Martin Turner

Recently, this paper was selected by the medical journal that published it as the “Patient’s Choice” article, meaning that it will be open access for all patients to read as well as the subject of a podcast. Tune in below to hear the podcast interview with the lead study author, Dr. Martin Turner, about what this research means and how it ties into his ongoing investigation of a possible connection between athleticism and ALS. (Jump to the 8:30 mark for his interview.)

Listen to the podcast interview with Dr. Martin Turner here.