In memoriam - Dr. Arthur J. Hudson

Monday, September 9, 2013

A message from Dr. Michael J. Strong, Dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, regarding Dr. Arthur J. Hudson:

It is with a sense of great loss that I inform you of the passing of Dr. J. Arthur Hudson earlier today. Dr. Hudson was a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences and one of its earliest members.

Many of you will have known of his dedication to the field of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and to his patients. At a time when ALS patients were largely neglected, he established the ALS Society of Canada and the first multi-disciplinary clinic for the care of ALS patients. He remained a champion of the multi-disciplinary approach to the care of the ALS patients throughout his life. Ultimately, this became the standard of care across the world.

Through his career, spanning over 4 decades, Dr. Hudson has contributed new knowledge to the field of neurology and neuroscience. He published, what many view to be, foundational papers in the pathophysiology of ALS, including not only his landmark Brain paper on dementia in ALS but a tremendously insightful series on cortical motor neuron loss with his close collaborator and friend, Dr. John Keirnan.

Dr. Hudson has made findings in multiple subfields, contributed definitions of major neurological disorders, and made great strides in enhancing our current understanding of ALS. His research, specifically on dementia in ALS was imperative in cementing the association between the two seemingly separate disease states. This foundational work has led to where we are today, and been instructive for all ALS researchers.

Outside the field of ALS, his research has focused on myotonic dystrophy, cellular metabolism, pain, and most recently, perception. Later in life, Dr. Hudson became intensely interested in consciousness and wrote a wonderful treatise of this - but not until he had taken graduate training in physics so that he could truly understand the phenomenon of which he wrote. This, at a time when many of us would have called it a day and enjoyed retirement. It was a mark of true scholarship.

The irony of all of this is that Dr. Hudson died from ALS. For those of you who knew him, you will understand when I say that he tackled this challenge in life with all the grace and poise that would be expected of a true gentleman and scholar. When we held the 4th international workshop on the frontotemporal dementias and ALS in London this summer, Arthur graciously allowed me to hold it in his honor. In his words, he may not have been able to lend his voice, but he could lend his name. He attended many of the sessions with his wonderful wife Jean - not surprisingly so as both of them were inseparable.

He will be missed greatly as a mentor, colleague and friend. But not nearly as greatly as will his family, to whom we all send our sincere condolences.

Memorial Service - September 21

The memorial service will be conducted at First-St. Andrew's United Church, 350 Queens Avenue, London, Ontario on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations are invited to the ALS Society of Canada. Click here to make a donation.