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Netflix’s Away might be the most down-to-earth space drama ever made. While Hilary Swank’s Emma Green leads an international crew on the first manned-mission to Mars, her family in Texas has to deal with their own drama. Specifically, her partner Matt Logan (Josh Charles) suffers a stroke brought on by CCM. The episode leaves him wheelchair-bound and struggling to regain a sense of self.
But what exactly is CCM and why is there concern that Matt and Emma’s daughter Alexis (Talitha Eliana Bateman) might have it, too? For a show that does a great job explaining the science of space travel and the emotional state of a teen girl, Away kind of assumes we know what CCM is!
Created by Andrew Hinderaker and executive produced by Jason Katims, Netflix’s Away focuses on the emotional toll of astronaut life. The five astronauts embarking on the history-making trip to Mars not only have to contend with the dangers of space, but the stress of leaving their loved ones back on Earth. Highlighting this pain, Away spends a lot of time on the earthbound drama. Almost as soon as Emma Green leaves the orbit of Earth, her own family is put under duress by Matt’s CCM attack.
Throughout the first season of Away, Matt’s CCM diagnosis is constantly referenced. It’s the reason his dreams of Martian travel were put on hold and why the best he can aspire to be in NASA is a mission control engineer. Because the disease is apparently genetic, there’s a whole subplot over the fact that Alexis might have it the gene, as well.
Again, we have to ask: exactly what disease does Josh Charles’s character have on Away?? Here’s what the show doesn’t explain… Here’s what you need to know about CCM.
CCM, more commonly known as cerebral cavernous malformations or CCMs, is a rare disease where the capillaries in a person’s brain are enlarged and/or irregular in shape. This means that the brain can have trouble getting a stable blood flow. While 25% of patients with the diagnosis never experience any side effects, those with it can have seizures, migraines, paralysis, sensory issues, or even a cerebral hemorrhage (aka stroke).
In Away, Matt only learns of his condition while undergoing astronaut training and Alexis needs a special blood test to determine if she has it. That’s because it only typically surfaces between the ages of 20 and 50. The size and shape of the blood vessels in question can also change over time.
There’s still a lot of research being done on the condition, with varying treatments for the different side effects.
World news – US – ‘Away’ on Netflix: What is CCM, the Disease Sidelining Josh Charles’s Character?