Friday, February 8, 2008

Count Von Count, Help!

The internet is amazing. Blogger The McKay Chronicles popped up in a Google alert...

Even as I write this, it's hard to believe that it's been over two months since Martha died. You know, before she got sick, I knew virtually nothing about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. I did not know anyone who had the disease. The only thing I knew about it was that it was more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and it was ultimately fatal. Now, we've lost Martha, we have heard of five or six other people in Pulaski county with ALS, and I know of another man who was just diagnosed with the disease yesterday, also in Pulaski county. That's a little bizarre. It certainly makes you think it might have some environmental influences or causes. Anyway, not to put a macabre spin on this little posting, but it popped into my head, and since I'm doing the typing, it made it to the Internet for perpituity.

Later Google found this from ALScounts

Pulaski County is about midway between Chicago and Indianapolis. The old railroad tracks run through its small towns and it's highly agricultural. Roughly 14,000 people live in the county. That's only about .0000467 of the U.S. population of around 300,000,000. If we suppose that the 30,000 Americans with ALS premise is correct, Pulaski County's share of PALS is only 1.4 at any moment in time. If there are 3 PALS in Pulaski County right now, that is over double what one might expect. If there are 6 PALS in Pulaski County right now, that seems astronomical.Of course, if we had a good registry of patients, the numbers could be verified and our health officials could stay on top of any real or perceived clusters. In the meantime The McKay Chronicles did us all a favor by capturing an observation on the internet.

It seems obvious to me that a simple headcount of all cases of ALS would help verify or dispel perceived clusters. In the meantime, please use the power of the internet to spread the word.

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