Science Helps ALS Patient Talk With His Eyes
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a degenerative disorder in which neurons in the brain start dying off. This causes gradual loss of control over one's muscles, eventually getting to the point where one is essentially too weak to speak, swallow or even breathe.
Respiratory failure is the most common cause of death from ALS. Although there is currently no cure, some medications can help ease the symptoms. Once diagnosed, life expectancy is typically just three or four years, with a few notable exceptions having survived for 10 years or more. The cause of the disease is still unknown, but a hereditary basis has been found in 5-10 percent of cases.
The story of Don and Lorraine really shows how the disease affects someone's ability to live a normal life. After being married for 25 years, Don was diagnosed with ALS, leaving Lorraine to take care of him as his condition progressively worsened. Not Impossible Labs, a company that makes products for people with disabilities, heard about their story and decided to help out by offering to build a device that would allow Don to communicate using his eye movements.
With the device, Don was finally able to express himself fully and say all the things he had been unable to say since his diagnosis. At one point, Lorraine looks into her husband's eyes and hears something she never thought she would hear. Her reaction is something you just have to see for yourself.
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