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ALS Study Musical Chairs

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Lou Gehrig may not have had Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s now thought that the New York Yankees Hall of Fame slugger “might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma.” Since “The Iron Horse” was cremated, this theory may never be proven as scientific fact.

Still, this discovery has set off a chain reaction in the eponymous disease community and the resulting domino effect has left many researchers scrambling. With conventional wisdom dictating that Lou Gehrig’s disease now be tied to “concussions and other brain trauma,” the future of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis became immediately unclear.

New names were suggested, including “Wally Pipp disease,” the man Gehrig replaced in the starting lineup on his way to playing 2,130 consecutive games. A possible reference as “Ed Zachary disease” was in final consideration until the ALS Association National Board of Trustees deemed it was “being punked.”

To remedy the issue and provide greatly needed clarification, all current eponymous disease names were placed in a hat yesterday at the American Legion Hall in Lyme, Connecticut and drawn to determine the future of each. As is customary, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was allowed to draw first. Starting next year, ALS will be known as Sturge-Weber syndrome, previously a rare congenital neurological and skin disorder sometimes referred to as encephalotrigeminal angiomatosis and named after William Allen Sturge and Frederick Parkes Weber.

More of the notable changes, starting on January 1st, 2011, include:


  • Parkinson’s disease will be known as Bell’s palsy.
  • Crohn’s disease will be Abderhalden-Kaufmann-Lignac syndrome.
  • Alzheimer’s disease will become Vincent’s angina.
  • Barrett’s ulcer will be referred to as Huntington’s disease
  • Graves’ disease will be called Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Werner’s syndrome will become Asperger’s syndrome after Feb. 15th, due to previous contractual arrangements with Binswanger dementia. Werner’s to temporarily be referred to as Klatskin’s tumor.
  • Down syndrome will be named Broadbent apoplexy
  • Tourette syndrome will become Salmonella, which some fear may lead to unplanned restaurant outbursts.

The full list will be announced sometime this fall. Check Wikipedia’s list of eponymous diseases for the most up-to-date changes.

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