Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Dormant viral genes may awaken to cause ALS

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health discovered that reactivation of ancient viral genes embedded in the human genome may cause the destruction of neurons in some forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The ...

Sep 30, 2015
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Hope against disease targeting children

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers studying spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) have found what they term "surprising similarities" between this childhood disorder that attacks motor neurons and amyotrophic lateral ...

Sep 24, 2015
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Scientists see motor neurons 'walking' in real time

When you're taking a walk around the block, your body is mostly on autopilot—you don't have to consciously think about alternating which leg you step with or which muscles it takes to lift a foot and put it back down. That's ...

Sep 02, 2015
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease in American English and Motor Neurone Disease in British English, is a form of Motor Neuron Disease caused by the degeneration of upper and lower neurons, located in the ventral horn of the spinal cord and the cortical neurons that provide their efferent input. The condition is often called Lou Gehrig's disease in North America, after the New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. The disorder is characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, spasticity, dysarthria, dysphagia, and respiratory compromise. Sensory function generally is spared, as is autonomic and oculomotor activity. ALS is a progressive, fatal, neurodegenerative disease with most affected patients dying of respiratory compromise and pneumonia after 2 to 3 years; although some perish within a year from the onset of symptoms, and occasional individuals have a more indolent course and survive for many years.

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