Lou Gehrig's Disease or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neuron cells in the spinal cord and brain, which ultimately results in paralysis and death. The disease takes its less-scientific name from Lou Gehrig, a baseball player with the New York Yankees in the late 1920s and 1930s, who was forced to retire in 1939 as a result of the loss of motor control caused by the disease.
In 1991, a team of researchers linked familial ALS to chromosome 21. Two years later, the SOD1 gene was identified as being associated with many cases of familial ALS. The enzyme coded for by SOD1 carries out a very important function in cells: it removes dangerous superoxide radicals by converting them into non-harmful substances. Defects in the action of this enzyme mean that the superoxide radicals attack cells from the inside, causing their death. Several different mutations in this enzyme all result in ALS, making the exact molecular cause of the disease difficult to ascertain.
Recent research has suggested that treatment with drugs called antioxidants may benefit ALS patients. However, since the molecular genetics of the disease are still unclear, a significant amount of research is still required to design other promising treatments for ALS.
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's and Huntington's exhibit loss of nerve function in different ways, from memory lapses to uncontrollable muscular movements, but it is now believed that these diseases share many common molecular mechanisms.
Italian researchers have observed significant reductions of gray matter volume in areas of the brain associated with language processing among people with a family history of dyslexia in comparison with controls with no reading problems.
Women with pelvic floor disorders suffer from urinary and fecal incontinence as well as prolapse of the bowel, bladder and reproductive organs. (Bowel prolapse occurs when the bowel slips out of place, and pushes up against the walls of the vagina, which may cause a great deal of discomfort.)
Dartmouth Medical School researchers in their quest to find cures for inherited diseases have found that zinc plays a crucial role in blindness in over one million people worldwide.
The University of Rochester Medical Center in New York state has been designated as the site of a new MDA/ALS center. The center is the 32nd facility to receive the designation from the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s ALS Division.
The finding suggests that a similar therapy might eventually be able to slow the devastating course of Parkinson's disease in humans.
The selective killing of spinal cord neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, occurs when tiny cellular components called mitochondria actively recruit a mutant disease-causing protein into specific neuron cells, according to new research by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine investigators.
Tripping, stumbling, falling, slow, steady loss of muscle control and strength in hands and feet, difficulty speaking, swallowing and breathing...
The discovery of the Senataxin gene, on chromosome 9q34, may provide clues to the mechanisms of related brain disorders. The study appears in the June 2004 issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Northwestern University neuroscientists have overcome a major obstacle in gene therapy research. They've devised a method that will safely deliver and regulate expression of therapeutic genes introduced into the central nervous system to treat Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Brandeis scientists have made groundbreaking advances in understanding how the regulations of a novel gene during the cell cycle can lead to a rare familial case of the early onset of Parkinson's disease.
Two researchers have announced receipt of a patent on the use of MSH analogs--chemicals that regulate fat storage and metabolism in the body.
A gene for a rare juvenile-onset form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) has been isolated in families in the United States, Belgium and Austria, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announced today.
Researchers have discovered a genetic mutation associated with an inherited form of motor neuron disease in which symptoms first appear in childhood or young adulthood. The finding is slated for publication in the American Journal of Human Genetics.
Cyberkinetics Inc has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to begin a clinical trial in which four-square-millimetre chips will be placed beneath the skulls of paralyzed patients.
A University of Pittsburgh pathologist has identified the first protein biomarkers able to diagnose patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) with near 100 percent accuracy. Before this finding, there were no known diagnostic biomarkers for this neurodegenerative disease.
In their first human studies of the feasibility of using brain signals to operate external devices, researchers at Duke University Medical Center report that arrays of electrodes can provide useable signals for controlling such devices. The research team is now working to develop prototype devices that may enable paralyzed people to operate "neuroprosthetic" and other external devices using only their brain signals.