In 1938, Lou Gehrig, an American baseball star, discovered he had a rare neuromuscular disease that progressively made him weaker until he was completely paralysed. He died 3 years later. Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neuron disease (MND) affects one in 50000 people. Stephen Hawking has it and David Niven died from it. The causes of this fatal disease are still unknown and no cure exists, just a few drugs to relieve symptoms; however, intensive research is being carried out to find a cure. In fact, more research has been performed on this rare disease in the past 5 years than has been carried out in the previous 150 years, and new potential treatments are being discovered regularly.

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