Skip to comments.Researchers Say They've Found Common Cause of All Types of ALS
Posted on 08/21/2011 2:36:53 PM PDT by Orange1998
(HealthDay News) -- The apparent discovery of a common cause of all forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) could give a boost to efforts to find a treatment for the fatal neurodegenerative disease, a new study contends.
Scientists have long struggled to identify the underlying disease process of ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and weren't even sure that a common disease process was associated with all forms of ALS.
In this new study, Northwestern University researchers said they found that the basis of ALS is a malfunctioning protein recycling system in the neurons of the brain and spinal cord. Efficient recycling of the protein building blocks in the neurons are critical for optimal functioning of the neurons. They become severely damaged when they can't repair or maintain themselves.
This problem occurs in all three types of ALS: hereditary, sporadic and ALS that targets the brain, the researchers said.
The discovery, published Aug. 21 in the journal Nature, shows that all forms of ALS share an underlying cause and offers a common target for drug therapy, according to the researchers.
"This opens up a whole new field for finding an effective treatment for ALS," study senior author Dr. Teepu Siddique, of the Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurosciences at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "We can now test for drugs that would regulate this protein pathway or optimize it, so it functions as it should in a normal state."
This finding about the breakdown of protein recycling in ALS may also prove useful in the study of other neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Alzheimer's and other dementias, the Northwestern researchers said.
ALS afflicts an estimated 350,000 people around the world. About 50 percent of patients die within three years of the first symptoms.
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Thanks for post. ALS is devastating; a cure would be a blessing.
But will it be covered under 0bamaCare?
I have a cousin who is now in the latent stages of ALS...it’s incredibly heartbreaking to have watched his decline over the past two years.
Bless your cousin, its got to be one of the most heart wrenching disease to face mankind.
“Hope they find a cure soon for the awful disease.”
I had a 2nd cousin die of it a few years ago. From what little I heard, it was most unpleasant.
He did try a number of alternative therapies and found that they did seem to work. He ate a either a macrobiotic or organic diet. I can’t remember which one it was but it seemed (at least to him) that it slowed down the progression of the disease.
My doubles partner (tennis) developed this. He was a terrific athlete. He had a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys and was inducted in the HOF for a major college. If there was anything good about his case it was that he passed away less than 2 months after he was diagnosed. He was the funniest guy I ever knew. I sure miss that guy.
Although we all exposed to process foods its best to avoid them as much as possible ie: MSG ect. Sorry to hear about 2nd cousin, may God Bless Him.
Never known anyone to have it but this disease can strike even the fittest person. At least we have a head start for the cause and possible future cure.
i recently had a good friend die from als.