Cake Boss’s Mom Diagnosed with ALS


Buddy Valastro, the typically jovial star of TLC’s Cake Boss, has some sad news. His mother Mary has just been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s disease. "She is tackling it with the strength and determination she always shows," Valastro told PEOPLE.

So what is ALS? It is a serious disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, making it impossible for them to send messages to muscles. As these cells lose their ability to function, patients experience weakened muscles and, as the disease progresses, they may lose the ability to move. Here are a few fast facts to brief you on the condition:

  • Only two in 100,000 people in the world are affected
  • Patients usually develop symptoms between ages 40-60
  • It’s most common in white males
  • In 10% of cases, ALS is caused by a genetic defect
  • Patients with ALS tend to lose weight, so they may need to up their calorie intake
  • Riluzole, the first drug to treat ALS, was approved by the FDA in 1995. Studies show it may extend life expectancy by a few months
  • Currently, there’s no cure

Our thoughts are with the Valastro family. We wish them well as Mary fights ALS.

More on ALS:

Why Is It Called Lou Gherig's Disease?

Who Gets ALS?

Nutritional Treatment for ALS

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