Change in Neuron Size Could Provide New Treatments for ALS

We always talk about science and studies related to health, habit, and lifestyle. But do we really know that our scientists are really working hard on new studies?

Yes, these studies are related to medical science. I recently crossed across a research regarding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which is associated with the death of the motor nerve cells or neurons.

At present time, there is no cure for ALS and have no effective treatment to reverse or halt, the progression of the disease.

A recent study which is conducted by Wright State University provides information on how the motor nerve cells (neurons) respond to the motor neuron disease, that provides pieces of evidence regarding new treatment options for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The study reveals that the motor neuron types are more resistant to the ALS and further do not increase their size. These changes in the size of motor neurons have the significant effect on their function.

The research also involved identifying and measuring size changes of motor neuron types in ALS. The motor neurons were observed at every key stage of the disease to recognize when and where these changes actually begin, and how they progress through the entirety of ALS.

This research suggests that motor neurons might alter their characteristics as a response to the ALS in an attempt to compensate for the loss of function.

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is the common type of motor neuron disease (MND). It is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player Lou Gehrig who had the ALS condition.

It refers to a group of progressive and neurological diseases that cause dysfunction in the nerves which control muscle movement and leads to muscle weakness as well as changes in how the body works.

Facts Related to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):

  • ALS affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, that leads to muscle weakness, paralysis, a loss of motor function, breathing problems, and, eventually, death.
  • Most people with ALS live between 4 and 6 years after symptoms appear.
  • The exact cause of ALS is unknown, but environmental and genetic factors may be involved.
  • At present, there is no cure and treatment that aims to relieve symptoms, provide emotional and social support, and possibly slow disease progression.

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Types of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):

There are mainly two types of ALS including;

  1. Sporadic ALS- Which is the most common form.
  2. Familial ALS (FALS)- Rarely found in people with ALS.

Causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):

Researchers still do not know exactly what causes the death of motor neurons with ALS. Genetic changes or mutations are in some cases of ALS. More than 12 different genetic changes have been linked to ALS.

One change concerns a gene that produces a protein called SOD1. This protein can be toxic to motor neurons. Other genetic changes in ALS can also damage motor neurons.

The environment could also play a role in ALS. Scientists are investigating whether people who come into contact with certain chemicals or pathogens are more likely to cope with the disease.

Diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):

It is difficult to diagnosed ALS in early stages but the disease can be diagnosed through the following process including;

  • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction study
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Muscle biopsy

Treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS):

Any type of treatment can’t reverse the damage of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

But with the treatment, the patient may show slow progression of symptoms by preventing complications and making the patient more comfortable and independent.

The patient may also use the several types of medications like Riluzole (Rilutek) and Edaravone (Radicava).

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