What is Moyamoya syndrome? Rare disease causes Josiah Harrell to pull out of Jack Della Maddalena fight
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When Joseph Harrell was preparing to step into the ring for a crucial boxing match against Jack Della Maddalena, he was likely unaware it would be his last. That’s because Joseph has been diagnosed with Moyamoya syndrome, a rare and progressive cerebrovascular disorder that affects blood vessels in the brain. Despite his immense disappointment in having to pull out, Joseph is hoping to spread awareness of this rare disorder and is using his difficult experience as a platform to educate others. In this article, we will explore the disease and the fate of Joseph Harrell, as well as seek to better understand this disorder.
What is Moyamoya syndrome? Rare disease causes Josiah Harrell to pull out of Jack Della Maddalena fight

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Moyamoya Syndrome

Moyamoya Syndrome (MMS) is a rare neurovascular disorder which affects the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes. This condition leaves the patient with weakened vessels, leading to strokes that can be potentially life-threatening.

The blood vessels are weakened as a result of a constriction and thinning of the walls of the vessels. An abnormal tangle of narrow vessels similar to a “puff of smoke”, called moyamoya vessels, may develop near the base of the brain in response.

With typically no underlying cause, MMS can affect anyone at any age. This wide range of potential patients, combined with its rare occurrence, can often make it difficult to diagnose. It is, however, possible to detect MMS in its early stages. Symptoms of this disorder may include:

  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Seizures
  • Speech difficulties
  • Headaches

Treatments for MMS range from medications that prevent blood clots to surgical treatments like revascularization.

1. An Introduction to Moyamoya Syndrome

2. Examining How Mystery Disease Affected Boxer Josiah Harrell

The tragic case of Josiah Harrell and the mystery disease to which he fell victim is one that will stick with us for some time. A successful boxer and model citizen of the community, all seemed well with Josiah until some strange and devastating changes took place.

It all began with minor health ailments that, even at the time, seemed paltry in comparison to what was to come. A nagging cough, occasional dizziness, stiffness in the joints – all of which would be expected to bring him in to the doctor. Unfortunately, it was far too late when the diagnosis finally came in.

  • The Decline: Josiah’s strength and agility began to steadily decline, and he was consigned to the hospital in no time. Non-stop bouts of coughing and relentless dizziness eventually brought him to his knees.
  • The Diagnosis: After countless tests and x-rays, Josiah was finally diagnosed with a swiftly progressing form of encephalitis. He would never be the same again.
  • The Tragedy: Eventually, Josiah was forced to give up his career in boxing as his health deteriorated. He passed away shortly thereafter, leaving a legacy that still stands today.

Josiah Harrell’s experience with mystery disease will remain a poignant reminder of the vitality of health. While this was a personal and sorrowful tragedy, Josiah’s story will continue to provide valuable insight into how diseases like this can be better addressed.

3. Uncovering the Risks of Fighting with a Rare Condition

The rare condition of fighting against a small population can bring up numerous risks. It is often difficult to uncover them, as these conditions are rarely discussed. From fear of not being taken seriously, to limited resources and medical uncertainty, the possible dangers are always present.

First, privacy threats are present for those suffering from a rare condition. By having to communicate information through social media, phone conversations, and medical certificates, a lack of privacy from unwanted observation is common. Additionally, as data shared is often limited, obtaining access to proper treatment options can be quite difficult.

Second, financial costs can be a huge barrier. Treatment, travel costs and other medical necessities can be exorbitant, with many insurance and health plans not providing adequate coverage for rare conditions. On top of this, diagnosis itself can take a significant amount of time. Visiting specialists, taking tests and medical procedures can take up countless hours.

  • Costly treatment options
  • Extended diagnosis time
  • Threat to privacy
  • Lack of resources
  • Medical uncertainty

Finally, medical uncertainty can be another obstacle. Without knowing what type of treatment is the most effective, or whether the medical advice received is suitable for the particular condition, this lack of knowledge can be quite frightening. In addition to this, research initiatives for rare diseases might be too little, or too fragmented to achieve a meaningful effects.

4. Hope for the Future: Treatment Options for Moyamoya Syndrome

After many years of suffering, medical advancements have made it possible for those with Moyamoya Syndrome to have hope for the future. Many treatment options have been made available for people to consider in order to help them live productive and fuller lives.

Surgical Procedures

  • Direct and Indirect Revascularization – This is the most commonly used surgical treatment for Moyamoya Syndrome. Involves the transplant of an artery or vein which can improve blood flow to the brain.
  • Encephaloduroarteriosynangiosis (EDAS) – This is a form of direct revascularization which is specially tailored for each individual depending on the severance of their Moyamoya Syndrome.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Stimulation techniques – Patients may also receive drugs, such as anti-platelet drugs, to reduce the probability of strokes.
  • Rehabilitation – Individuals recovering from Moyamoya Syndrome may also be offered audiological, speech, and physical therapy to help with any consequences which may have arisen from the condition.


Q: What is Moyamoya syndrome?

A: Moyamoya syndrome is a rare, progressive vascular disorder that causes the weakening and narrowing of the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This can cause the formation of a “moyamoya” pattern of tiny vessels, which is how the syndrome gets its name.

Q: What are the symptoms of Moyamoya syndrome?

A: Moyamoya syndrome can cause a wide array of symptoms, including stroke-like symptoms, weakness, difficulty with concentration and memory, seizures, and headaches. Depending on the severity of the syndrome, symptoms can become more severe over time as complications arise.

Q: How is Moyamoya syndrome diagnosed?

A: Diagnosis of Moyamoya syndrome usually involves an MRI or CT scan, as well as tests that measure the blood flow to the brain. A specialist may also perform an angiogram, which is an imaging test that uses an X-ray and a dye to provide pictures of the blood vessels inside the brain.

Q: How is Moyamoya syndrome treated?

A: Treatment of Moyamoya syndrome varies depending on the severity of the disease, as well as the patient’s age. Treatment options may include surgery to improve the flow of blood to the brain, medications to treat symptoms, and lifestyle changes to help decrease the risk of stroke.


This rare disease, Moyamoya Syndrome, demonstrates the importance of seeking medical attention as soon as symptoms develop. Josiah Harrell’s courage in fighting through this condition serves as an inspiration to others facing similar medical issues. No matter the odds, through courage, strength, and faith, we can all overcome health hurdles to reach our goals.

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