How did Stephen Hawking survive so long ?
Stephen W. Hawking, the Cambridge University physicist and best-selling author who roamed the cosmos from a wheelchair, pondering the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe and becoming an emblem of human determination and curiosity, passed away early Wednesday 14 March 2018 at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 76.
Professor Hawking developed motor neuron disease – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) when he was in his early 20s. Most patients with the condition die within five years, and according to the Motor Neuron Disease Association, average life expectancy after diagnosis is 14 months. No one is thought to have survived for so long with the incurable condition, which kills three people a day in the United Kingdom. Surprisingly, professor Hawking survived more than 50 years after he diagnosed ALS at age 20.
An article published on British Medical Journal 2002, an exceptional man, discovered Professor hawking’s secret of fighting with ALS:
“The average duration of survival from diagnosis is about 14 months, but it varies enormously,” says Professor Nigel Leigh, professor of clinical neurology at King’s College, London, and director of the King’s MND Care and Research Centre.
Asked by the BMJ if he knew why his condition had evolved differently from a typical case of MND, Professor Hawking replied, “I believe motor neuron disease is a syndrome that can have different causes. Maybe my variety is due to bad absorption of vitamins.”
Professor Hawking supplements his diet with daily mineral and vitamin tablets, and zinc, cod liver oil capsules, folic acid, vitamin B complex, vitamin B-12, vitamin C and vitamin E are said to have been particularly helpful. He also follows a diet free of gluten and vegetable oil and avoids convenience foods; quite recently he started to include a small amount of dairy produce.
“I have had motor neuron disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family and being successful in my work. This is thanks to the help I have received from Jane, my children, and a large number of other people and organizations. I have been lucky, that my condition has progressed more slowly than is often the case. But it shows that one need not lose hope.” – Stephen W. Hawking