Disease: ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Normal neuron and ALS infected neuron
Normal neuron and ALS infected neuron

What Causes It?
The causes of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is still unknown and scientists down’t know why ALS occurs to some people and not others. Some of the possible answers for what causes ALS are: Genetics, Glutamate, Autoimmune responses and Environment.

  • Genetics - Research in 1993 found out that mutations in the gene that produces the SOD 1 enzyme were related to some cases of ALS.
  • Autoimmune responses - Some scientists theorize that antibodies may damage the function of motor neurons, that might interfere the signal between the brain and muscles.
  • Glutamate - Studies have shown that people who have ALS, has more glutamate (chemical messengers in the brain) than regular people, that makes a lot unneeded. Neurons begin to die as to they are exposed to long to excessive amount of glutamate, making the person having weak muscles.
  • Environmental factors - Some of the factors to causing ALS, such as exposure to toxic or diseases, dietary deficiency and trauma. But yet there is no big factors of causing ALS in a single way.

What does it do?
ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a disease that kills nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, that effects the transmission from the brain to muscles, motor neurons will soon die, because of too much of glutamate, with muscles being affected, people in the later stages may become totally paralyzed, the worst is the patient dies of respiratory failure or pneumonia.

How is it spread?
Lyme disease, a bacterial disorder, it can cause damage to the motor neurons, but there is no evidence on that Lyme disease can cause ALS. It is still unknown as scientists have very little information about ALS.

What is the cure?
In Italy, 44 people with ALS was given Lithium and after 15 months not one died and their progression either slowed down or stopped. Death usually occurs about 2 to 5 years, but these people have stopped ALS from further damages to themselves.

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2. ALS Association. " What is ALS - The ALS Association."Welcome - The ALS Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. <http://www.alsa.org/als/what.cfm>.

3. "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)." National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). N.p., 13 Aug. 2010. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorder

4. "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia//. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2010. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amyotrophic_lateral_sclerosis>.