What was Charcot’s disease that Stephen Hawking had?


Famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking died on 14th March 2018 at the age of 76. He had Charcot’s disease, which affects 2,500 people a year in France. Loss of muscle control, paralysis, cognitive disorders … Back on the effects of this rare disease.

Died on Wednesday, British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking , whose images in wheelchairs and artificial respirators have made their mark, was suffering from Charcot’s disease.

Also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), it is a paralytic neurodegenerative disease. It is rare with, for example, about 2,500 new cases per year in France.

It is part of the group of motor neuron diseases, which gradually degenerate and cause patients to lose control of their muscles.

Loss of Ability to Move, to Breathe
It starts with a loss of the ability to move your arms and your legs. Then when the diaphragm and chest muscles are affected, patients lose their breathing capacity and are put on assistance.

This was the case for years of Stephen Hawking, who nevertheless continued his work while being in a wheelchair and under artificial respirator.

He had indeed defied the predictions that he had only a few years to live after developing this disease in the early 1960s.

The Longevity of Stephen Hawking: a mystery for Doctors
Doctors continue to view longevity as a mystery, as the disease remains incurable. According to medical statistics, death usually occurs 24 to 36 months after diagnosis. Most often, it is the inability to breathe that carries the patient.

Patients developing this disease are most often over 60 years old. They gradually have more and more trouble swallowing and talking.

Hawking continued to express himself publicly, equipped with a communication aid system to talk about the secrets of the universe or black holes.

Usually, Charcot’s disease is accompanied by cognitive impairment with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Attention and ability to express themselves are diminished. Obsessions, disinhibition and apathy are also observed.


About Dawn Richard

In addition to writing for NextColumn, Dawn Richard contributes to other publications including Sensiblereason and Natural News. He studied Computer Science and Journalism at Boston University, and also worked in BBC as well as in the public sectors.

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