Breakthrough for Lou Gehrig's Disease

Lonnie and Susan Larson know life can change in an instant. Theirs did when Susan was diagnosed with a fatal disease known as ALS three years ago.

Each day, her health got a little worse. Susan can no longer walk, talk or swallow.
ALS or Lou Gehrig's attacks the body's nerves and muscles.

Patients lose their ability to breathe and need a medical ventilator to survive.
That's risky because of the chance of developing pneumonia.

Susan was the first ALS patient in the country to undergo the same procedure that doctors performed on Christopher Reeve.

With special instruments, two electrodes are placed on each diaphragm. An electronic device stimulates the muscles and nerves, allowing muscles to contract and air to enter the lungs.

Susan's lung capacity has actually improved. She hopes to make it to you son's wedding next year.

Doctors say the device has already extended Susan's life by nine months, precious time for a woman who has so much to live for.

This is the first device that improves lung capacity in patients with ALS.

Patients may be candidates for the surgery if their lung capacity is above 45 percent.

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