Paul Aiken, the long-time executive director of the Authors Guild, announced today that he has early-stage Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a fatal illness also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Aiken has been treating the disease with steroids and said that since August 7 the symptoms in his legs have been in remission. In a statement, Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild, said it is “business as usual at the Authors Guild," and that Aiken will continue to guide the organization “for the foreseeable future.”
Aiken told PW he is “cautiously optimistic and doing fine.” Beginning Monday, he will start posting updates on his condition—and treatment—at n=2.com (nequals2.com). Aiken said that after researching ALS treatments, he found a posting about treating ALS with steroids from Dr. Herman E. Schmid about how steroid treatments put his symptoms in remission. (Aiken had started taking steroids for another matter). Aiken said he expects skepticism about the remission of his symptoms and that is one reason he will begin posting pertinent medical records. He also acknowledged he has no way of knowing whether his remission will continue or whether he has some odd strain of ALS, so his treatment might not apply to others.
"ALS is a rare, widely-dispersed disease, with the vast majority of its victims in the non-English speaking world," said Aiken. "Fortunately, the Authors Guild has provided me the resources to distribute this translated press release and to set up a simple blog to share the experiences of Dr. Schmid and me with a global audience. I'm going to do my best to open-source my medical records," he said.