Saturday, April 25, 2009

High Number Of ALS Cases Near Kennedy Space Center

This cover of Time Magazine is a fake, however the message is horribly factual. 
A deadly disease could be threatening residents living around the Kennedy Space Center. Researchers have found an alarming number of ALS cases, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in neighborhoods near the space center.
Some former NASA workers fear they were exposed to something that may now be killing them.
There are 24 known cases of ALS within a 25 mile radius of the Kennedy Space Center. According to the ALS Association, that rate is about 40 percent higher than the  national average.
A spokesperson for the Kennedy Space Center says NASA takes precautions around all toxic substances, and since there is no known cause of the disease, NASA cannot say something at the Space Center is to blame.
A new ALS National Registry approved by congress last year, but not yet funded, will  get a more accurate count of how many people around the Kennedy Space Center are fighting the disease and how many have already died from it.  The fight for the ALS Registry Act has been six-years in the making, introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel.  It has endured two sessions of Congress and held by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma for a period of six months.  Brought to the Senate floor by Sen. Harry Reid and passed without objection and finally signed by President Bush.
ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70-years-old. Scientists have not yet nailed down the risk factors. However, two months ago, the Veterans Administration acknowledged military personnel also had a higher risk of contracting ALS.


Anonymous said...

The real cover of Newsweek Apr. 20 "The Mystery of Epilepsy -- Why we must find a cure." Inside tagline -- "Understanding A Mysterious Affliction - Epolepsy is defined by haunting uncertainty... Yet the disease's toll has been overlooked, and its research underfunded, for far too long."

Just switch ALS for Epilepsy and the same can be said.

Has the country that cured and prevented many infectious diseases in the 50s-70s and cured and prevented many cancers in the 80s-90s lost its innovation in medical science? The neurosciences are waiting with many serious challenges.

Anonymous said...

YES! Great post. As stated by a doctor: "ALS IS NOT AN INCURABLE DISEASE--IT'S JUST AN UNDERFUNDED DISEASE." The medical community is ready for this challenge.

ALSadvocacy said...

Just to complicate things, "ALS" means something different to NASA. It's Advanced Life Support. Google NASA ALS and you'll see.

A few weeks ago a military physician told me that the cover on the ALSA military white paper on ALS threw her since "ALS" is a military abbreviation for something that has nothing to do with the disease.

In my opinion, every time A.L.S. is mentioned it needs to be described clearly as Lou Gehrig's Disease, otherwise, you can't assume that people are thinking about the disease. It could be the American Llama Society in their minds.

Anonymous said...

On June 5th of 2008, I was diagnosed after a year of frustrating medical tests, that I had contracted Motor Neuron disease (MND), of which the most common is ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. I was diagnosed with a less comon variant PLS or Primary lateral sclerosis. In december of 2008 I was medically retired I am 55. I submitted for a study on PLS with the National Institute of Health was turned down as I was required to have PLS 3 years from date of diagnosis without it becoming ALS. ALS is recognized as a service connected condition, PLS is not. ALS is considered fatal where PLS is not, both paralize voluntary mussle response but PLS does not cause the mussle wasting that causes death in ALS.

I worked at Kennedy, I now face slow progressive paralysis. email