Thursday, 9 October 2008

Nature Or Nurture?

Have you ever heard of Lou Gehrig's disease?

No neither had I until today.

It's a very aggressive, usually fatal, disease of the nervous system.

Sounds truly horrible.

So why write about it here?

Well, according to The Guardian, there is considerable concern in some countries because the occurrence amongst footballers is significantly higher than the general population. Up to 6 times more.

There is lots of speculation about the reasons why - drugs, pesticides, heading the ball - but no-one really seems to know what the root causes are. It does appear, however, that some people have a genetic predisposition to the illness.

I don't know about you but I do wonder to what extent our manipulation of our environment may contribute towards, or at least increase our vulnerability to, certain diseases. The thought that such conditions might be avoidable for some is sobering. The idea that football, something that has the propensity to do so much good, might be responsible for people dying early, is too sad to contemplate.

Lets hope that in these days of continuous technological advances someone is able to find out why these poor footballers have been so badly affected and put a stop to the misery.


Derek said...

The Italian Football Federation are funding research into this disease by giving a £150K grant to Paolo Zappillo.(BIG DEAL)
This equates to 1 weeks wages of some of our top Premier League players

Fern Cohen said...

I have Lou Gehrig's Disease aka ALS aka Motor Neuron Disease [as it is usually called in the UK]. Check out my blog on my life in the last 5 years with the disease. In the US, we just got an act passed through Congress to establish a registry so that we can see patterns.

In the US, we also have a disproportionate number of professional athletes who have come down with the disease. In fact, Lou Gehrig was a professional baseball player.

Georgina Best said...

Fern - Welcome! Thanks for visiting the blog and the post on your site. I did read a bit about the disease and Lou Gehrig as I was researching the piece. It's one of those things you come across and think "Why on earth is this not big news?". I think the thing that struck me most was the lack of any real investment in research. As with many things I guess it relies upon campaigners like yourself to keep banging on the door to make people sit up and take note.
Take care.