Working to eradicate ALS

PORT KENT - While many people think of cancer as the current epidemic, Darlene Long believes it's actually motor neuron diseases.

Darlene's husband, Roger, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease in May 2009. Since his diagnosis he is now in a wheelchair, with severe weakness in his arms and hands. Darlene has been doing a lot of research about ALS, coming across some interesting findings.

While typically only one person for every 100,000 get ALS, Darlene has noticed the numbers are much higher in Clinton County, and parts of Essex County.

"There's a lady that we met who is the eastern coast representative for the ALS [Association]," Darlene said. "She definitely said they know there's a pocket here, they just don't know why."

However, Darlene has learned Dartmouth University will be doing a study to check out the water basin.

"They think that there may be a bacteria that's found along our lake," she said. "That same bacteria is found in Guam, where five percent of the world's cases are."

As Darlene has learned more information about ALS, she has also searched for specific cases in the area, coming across 25 people who have died from it since the 1980s.

"But, the bulk of the names, the majority of them, probably three-quarters, are from 2001, on," she said. "So, this last decade has seen the most of them."

Darlene also came across some interesting information on medical shows, which state motor neuron diseases will actually become the epidemic of the 21st century.

"Cancer was considered the epidemic of the last century, the 1900s," she explained. "We've seen enough medical shows ... they figure they're going to have it beat by 2016. They are so close with being able to eliminate it."

The new epidemic of motor neuron diseases include Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Frontal Lobe Dementia, and ALS.

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