This medical video focuses on the medical advancements in Lou Gehrig's syndrome.
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Jennifer Matthews: 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. Lonnie Larson: We just go for little walks. You're kind of walking with a walker, a push walker, and then a strolling walker, and then you have a wheelchair around for awhile. Jennifer Matthews: Susan can no longer walk, talk or swallow. Lonnie Larson: I do the makeup, do the hair, dress, bathe. Jennifer Matthews: ALS or Lou Gehrig's, attacks the body's nerves and muscles. Patients lose their ability to breathe and need a mechanical ventilator to survive. But that can be risky. Raymond Onders: Just being on that ventilator changes your life expectancy because of the risk of pneumonia. Jennifer Matthews: Susan was the first ALS patient in the country to undergo the same procedure that doctor Onders 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. Raymond Onders: What we're trying to do is help the patients with one of the major issues that they face, how to breathe, how to breathe with their own muscle. Jennifer Matthews: The device has done more than that. Susan's lung capacity has actually improved. She hopes to make it to her son's wedding next year. Lonnie Larson: She's a real fighter and giving her best to try to make, make something positive out of this situation we're in. Jennifer Matthews: 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 Jennifer Matthews reporting.