The Diamond Awards committee and our partners—the Twin Cities chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, the Minnesota Twins, and the University of Minnesota—thank you for your support. With your help, our all-star team of world-renowned doctors and researchers will continue to advance research to strike out ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), ataxia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson's disease.
Please take a moment to learn about each of these diseases.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the star first-baseman who died of ALS in 1941. ALS paralyzes all muscles by gradually destroying nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control movement, but other brain functions remain intact. Consequently, tactile sensation, vision, hearing, memory, and cognition remain normal throughout the course of ALS.
Ataxia is a progressive neurological condition that robs its victims of their ability to make coordinated movements, often with fatal consequences. Walking, talking, holding objects, making eye contact, and even swallowing become monumental and, eventually, insurmountable tasks. Determined researchers at the University of Minnesota are emerging as world leaders in the fight to treat, cure, and prevent ataxia.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system by disrupting communication between nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Depending on which nerves are impaired, MS can cause impairment in cognition, movement, sensation, and other functions.
Muscular dystrophy is a broad term that describes a genetic disorder of the muscles characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue. In some forms of muscular dystrophy, cardiac and smooth muscles are affected.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive illness that results when there is premature loss of nerve cells in a part of the midbrain. These nerve cells produce dopamine, an important chemical messenger that transmits signals that allow for coordinated movement. Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease.
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