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Earl Thomas Conley and Cerebral Atrophy

Earl Thomas Conley was a country music singer-songwriter who during the 1980s and 1990s had 24 Top-10 country singles including 18 that were Number One. Only Alabama and Ronnie Milsap had more number one hits during the decade. This month, at age 77, Conley died after spending many months in hospice care for cerebral atrophy, a condition that had caused progressive loss of memory over several years.

Jean Harlow, the Blonde Bombshell

Jean Harlow was voted one of the greatest actresses of the 1930s Golden Age by the American Film Institute and was the first movie actress to be on the cover of Life Magazine, even though she was a film actress for only 10 years and appeared in only 41 movies. She died...

Grace Kelly, Death of a Princess

Grace Kelly was a famous Hollywood actress who became Princess Grace of Monaco and died at age 54 after driving a car off a hilly Monaco road. Her father was Jack Kelly, a wealthy Philadelphia construction contractor who was also a three-time Olympic gold medal winner in rowing. Her brother was also...

Mitch Petrus Dies of Heat Stroke at 32

Mitch Petrus, who won a Super-Bowl with the New York Giants in 2011, died of heat stroke at the very young age of 32.  He had worked outside all day at his parents' shop in greater than 100 degree heat index weather during a Pan-Arkansas heat advisory.  Late in the afternoon, he felt sick,...

Charles Darwin and Panic Disorder

Charles Darwin was one of the most influential scientists of all time. He was the first person to clearly define evolution as selective breeding in which favorable variations in an organism are passed on, and unfavorable variations are dropped, so that the species on earth today have gradually evolved from common ancestors.

John Madden and Diabetes

John Madden was 32 years old when the Oakland Raiders hired him to become the youngest head coach ever in the National Football League. He went on never to have a losing season, with an outstanding 103-32-7 record in his 10 seasons with the team. They made the playoffs eight times and won Super Bowl XI on January 9, 1977. His winning percentage of .759 remains the highest for an NFL coach with at least 100 victories. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at age 70 in 2006. After he retired from coaching in 1979, he arguably became even more famous as a career broadcaster.

Gene Wilder: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Alzheimer’s

Gene Wilder was a beloved American stage, screen and TV actor who made people laugh just by being himself. He was also a successful screenwriter, film director and author. He is best remembered for the movies where he appeared to be naive and childlike: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein . . .

Fuller Albright and Parkinson’s Disease

Fuller Albright discovered more new diseases and their causes than any other person in the history of medicine. He founded modern endocrinology, the study of how glands work in your body. In his lifetime, he mentored most of the chairmen of the departments of endocrinology in North American medical schools. He was one of...

The On-and-Off Partnership of Tammy Wynette and George Jones

George Jones and Tammy Wynette, perhaps the most popular married country-singing couple of all time, told us a lot about their marriage and divorce. They were married for only seven years, but they wrote and sang together while they were married and for twenty years after they were divorced.

Van Cliburn, Cold War Hero

In 1958, at the height of the "Cold War", the Soviet Union gained an incredible coup by successfully launching Sputnik 1, the first orbiting satellite. At that time, almost all of the world’s premier pianists came from the Soviet Union, so they sponsored the first quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow to...

John Harvey Kellogg, Right and Wrong

John Harvey Kellogg was a medical doctor and director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, a hospital, spa and expensive hotel that helped to heal sick people primarily by getting them to eat a plant-based diet. To help people eat more plants, he and his brother, Will Keith Kellogg, invented "Corn Flakes" by putting whole grains though rollers and toasting them.

Wilma Rudolph: Olympian and Polio Survivor

At the 1960 Rome Olympics, Wilma Rudolph, a polio survivor, became the first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. More than 80,000 spectators watched the 5-foot-11, 130 pound beauty win the 100-meter dash by more than three yards in a world-record 11 seconds.

Bess Myerson’s Highs and Lows

Bess Myerson won the 1945 Miss America contest because she was the most beautiful, most talented and at 5'10", the tallest entrant. She went on to become an adored television personality and then had a successful career in politics. However, this beautiful, brilliant and talented woman made terrible decisions in her personal life that eventually drove her from the limelight into scandal and obscurity.

Luke Perry: Young Strokes

Luke Perry was a television actor and movie star for more than 35 years, most famous as Dylan McKay, a brooding and alcoholic teenager who was the son of a millionaire on the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 from 1990 to 1995, and again from 1998 to 2000. He was ranked #6 in the list of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" (TV Guide, January 23, 2005).

Ida Keeling, Setting Running Records at 100

Two years ago, Ida Keeling (born May 5, 1915) set the world record for a 99 year old woman in the 100-meter dash at 59.80 seconds. At age 95 she set the world record for running 60 meters at 29.86 seconds. Her brain matches her athletic prowess. She can recall names and dates immediately. Running as she ages has given her life more meaning and purpose, which is very important as she probably has many more years to live,

Ingrid Bergman’s Breast Cancer

Ingrid Bergman was one of the best actresses ever. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmys, four Golden Globes and a Tony Award for Best Actress. Many of her more than 50 films are among the most popular films of all time: Intermezzo (1939), Casablanca (1942), Notorious (1946), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1950), Spellbound...

Andre the Giant and Acromegaly

Andre the Giant was a professional wrestler who at 7' 4" and 520 pounds, won the World Wrestling Federation individual championship and World Tag Team Championship. He was also an actor in several Hollywood films. His huge size was caused by a pituitary gland brain tumor that produced huge amounts of human growth hormone.

C.W. Post, Entrepreneur and Huckster

C.W. Post was a brilliant huckster who invented Grape Nuts and Postum. He founded Post Cereals, which eventually became General Foods, one of the largest processed food  companies in the world.

President Harrison Didn’t Die from Not Wearing a Hat

William Henry Harrison was a U.S. military officer and politician who died of pneumonia 31 days into his term, to become the first president to die in office. He was 68 years and 23 days old, and at that time, the average life expectancy for a man was only 38 years.

President Eisenhower Changed the Way Doctors Treat Heart Attacks

On Sept 23, 1955, the President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was staying at his in-laws’ house in Denver and went to play golf at the Cherry Hills Country Club. There he suddenly developed pain in his chest and belly. That evening, he had dinner with his physician, Major General Howard Scrum Snyder, and went to bed early, still complaining of pain.

Richard Nixon’s Paranoia

On April 18, 1994, Richard Nixon suffered a massive stroke at his home in Park Ridge, New Jersey. Four days later he sank into a coma and died at age 81. Famous people from all over the world, including five U.S. presidents, attended his funeral. President Bill Clinton's eulogy talked about Nixon's accomplishments in foreign affairs and did not mention his constitutional crimes.

Dallas McCarver, Bodybuilder, Dead at Age 26

At age 21, Dallas McCarver won the IFBB North American Bodybuilding Championship to become the youngest professional bodybuilder ever to win a pro qualifier competition. In the next five years, he grew to weigh 300 pounds on 6'1" frame, won many bodybuilding competitions, and became well-known as one of the strongest and most dedicated professional bodybuilders in the world.

Kirstie Alley and Colon Cancer

Kirstie Alley was an actress who gained fame when she joined the cast of Cheers in its sixth year, after Shelley Long ("Diane") left the popular series. Alley was nominated four times for Emmy awards, and received one for Cheers and one for David's Mother. She appeared in many movies including Star Trek II and Look Who's Talking with John Travolta, and has a motion picture star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On December 5, 2022 at age 71, Alley died a short time after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

Wilt Chamberlain’s Myocarditis

Wilt Chamberlain was possibly the greatest basketball player and the greatest athlete ever. The 63-year-old Chamberlain was reported to have died of heart damage called myocarditis, but how could arguably the world’s greatest and fittest athlete die of heart damage? A possible explanation would be venereal diseases, which are a common cause of myocarditis. Chamberlain wrote a book, A View from Above (published in 1991) in which he claimed that had had sex with more than 20,000 women.

Fausto Coppi’s Mysterious Death

Fausto Coppi was the best international cyclist in the years before and after World War II because he was the best climber, time trialer and sprinter. He won the Giro d'Italia five times (1940, 1947, 1949, 1952, 1953), the Tour de France twice (1949 and 1952), and the World Championship in 1953. ...

Gerty Cori’s Nobel Prize

Gerty Cori was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, in 1947, for the discovery of how muscles covert sugar to lactic acid for energy during exercise and how the lactic acid then travels in the bloodstream to the liver where it is converted back to sugar for...

Harold Reid of The Statler Brothers

Harold Reid was the bass singer of the Statler Brothers, one of the most successful vocal harmony groups in the history of country music. They moved gospel harmonies into popular country music.

Bruce Lee and Hyponatremia

Bruce Lee was the most influential martial artist of the 20th century. In the 1970's, his fame as a movie star and martial arts instructor sparked North American interest in Asian martial arts. He brought Asian martial arts to North America by founding Jeet Kune Do, which is the basis for modern mixed martial arts. On July 20, 1973, at age 32, he died suddenly with massive swelling of his brain. The cause of his brain swelling was not proven by an autopsy, but was originally reported as possibly caused by sensitivity to aspirin. Now, almost 50 years after his death, a well researched paper with solid journal references explains that he probably died from hyponatremia, drinking too much water

Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones Drummer

Charlie Watts was the drummer for 58 years with The Rolling Stones, arguably the top hard rock band in the world with an estimated 250 million records sold. The Rolling Stones won three Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame.

Otto Warburg, Cancer Pioneer

83 years after Otto Warburg published his landmark paper on cancer, the New York Times has a major article on the revival of his idea that cancer cells can be starved to death (NYT, May 12, 2016). Otto Warburg (1883 – 1970) was arguably the most brilliant and productive chemist of all time. Throughout his 50 years of research, he made major breakthroughs in intracellular respiration, photosynthesis and cancer.