An interesting article in the British Medical Journal in 2002 reminds us about the likely importance of vitamins and otehr nutrients.

Roger Dobson reports:

"Professor Hawking supplements his diet with daily mineral and vitamin tablets, and zinc, cod liver oil capsules, folic acid, vitamin B complex, vitamin B-12, vitamin C and vitamin E are said to have been particularly helpful. He also follows a diet free of gluten and vegetable oil and avoids convenience foods; quite recently he started to include a small amount of dairy produce.

As far as medical care is concerned, he receives passive chest physiotherapy and passive and active physiotherapy to all limbs and muscle groups. He is not currently undergoing any new treatment, and does not have a particular specialist to look after him. He does have his own GP.

In a note on his experiences with MND, which appears on his own website (, he says: "It was a great shock to me to discover that I had motor neurone disease. In my third year at Oxford, I noticed that I seemed to be getting more clumsy, and I fell over once or twice for no apparent reason. But it was not until I was at Cambridge that my father noticed, and took me to the family doctor. He referred me to a specialist, and shortly after my 21st birthday, I went into hospital for tests.

"I was in for two weeks, during which I had a wide variety of tests. After all that, they didn't tell me what I had, except that it was not multiple sclerosis, and that I was an atypical case. I gathered, however, that they expected it to continue to get worse, and that there was nothing they could do, except give me vitamins. I could see that they didn't expect them to have much effect. I didn't feel like asking for more details, because they were obviously bad."

Asked by the BMJ if he knew why his condition had evolved differently from a typical case of MND, Professor Hawking replied, "I believe motor neurone disease is a syndrome that can have different causes. Maybe my variety is due to bad absorption of vitamins."

Read the full article, "An Exceptional Man":