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Stephen Hawking has lived with AS a beautiful 50-plus years: What is known about the disease of the nervous system

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Physicist Stephen Hawking death 76

Famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking dies.

At the age of 21, Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a fatal, motor neuron disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als), also known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Doctors didn’t think he had much time. The disease usually kills within two to five years.

But, as always, the famous theoretical physicist proved everyone wrong. Despite the variety of health complications over the years, He lived his entire adult life with the disease more than half a century – until his death at the age of 76 on March 14.

STEPHEN HAWKING, THE FAMOUS PHYSICIST, DEATH OF 76

He spent decades paralyzed in a wheelchair. In 1985, a severe attack of pneumonia left him breathing through a tube, forcing him to communicate through an electronic voice synthesizer, which gave him his distinctive robotic monotone.

But that did not deter him from making important scientific contributions, appearing on television and receiving various prestigious awards.

On average, 5,000 people are diagnosed with als each year.

Brian Dickie, director of research at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, is an estimate only 5 percent of the people diagnosed with als survive for 10 years or longer.

“[He] is really at the extreme end of the scale when it comes to survival,” said Dickie.

Here is what you need to know about ALS, the incurable, deadly disease that Hawking has lived with a beautiful 50-plus years.

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What is IF?

Als is a nervous system disease that targets nerves in the brain and the spinal cord, nerves in the muscles to die, causing the voluntary muscle movement,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.

The people diagnosed with the disease often have a poor prognosis.

“The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in als eventually leads to death,” The als Association, a non-profit organization that raises money for research, explains on its website.

Like Hawking, the most people with the disease eventually need a tube for breathing, as the respiratory muscles weaken over time.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms in AS patients can vary.

Usually people start noticing problems with muscle functions, such as trouble with grasping or lifting of everyday objects – such as a cup of coffee. Extremely painful or tired legs can also be a sign. Others experience difficulty speaking or swallowing.

“Early symptoms vary, but may include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying,” AS The Association added.

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Treatment

There is currently no treatment for als. Scientists are studying the disease for years, in the hope to be a specific cause or pattern.

The National AS a Register, a congressionally mandated registry that collects data on people in the u.s. suffer from the disease, is the carrying out of research for about 7 years now.

“It is the only population-based registry in the U.S. that collects information to help scientists learn more about who gets als and its causes,” the CDC explained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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