Woody Guthrie died from this terrible disease. It is a genetic defect that creates a toxin that destroys brain tissue. It has been incurable. It is a horrendous disease that sets in during middle age to slowly deteriorate the brain causing loss of coordination, speech and mental function.
Woody’s deterioration started in the early 1950s, led to his hospitalisation in 1956 and culminated in his death in 1967.
Woody was a man mountain – a spark of life, a unique social commentator, a person of the people, a champion of the underdog, the poor, the blacks and Latinos, the vagrants and itinerant musicians. He put his body where his mouth was and spent his life doing his utmost to make the world a better place. Where-ever there was injustice there was Woody.
Now they have a cure for the disease. By injecting a chemical into the spinal cord they can reduce the levels of the toxin that causes the deterioration.
Just think if they had only developed this drug in the 50s we might have had a decade or two of Woody’s wonderful songwriting, novel writing and insights. He would have had so much to comment on in this age of Trump, Brexit and the rise of fascism.