Why Is ALS Cure Elusive?

A cure for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) still seems elusive despite the best efforts of scientists to crack its code.

Dr. Martin Turner from the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Oxford, England recently published a paper titled “The expanding syndrome of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a clinical and molecular odyssey” in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry detailing why ALS still remains incurable.

He wrote, “Monogenic models may have inadvertently masked the true complexity of the human disease.”

In other words what works for one group of people may not necessarily work for the population as a whole.

In a study on the “Prevalence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” researchers found a wide gulf in the target populations of ALS.

For example:

  • Men under 40 are less than 5% of the patients
  • Men are almost twice as likely to get ALS than women
  • Almost 80% of the victims are white
  • Only 2% are not high-school graduates, while over 70% have college experience

Since mice are not college graduates, the validity of the data on laboratory mice has to be examined very carefully when applied to human beings.

Neurological pathologies, such as ALS, are notoriously difficult to accurately diagnose since the presentations of the disease do not always agree with the clinical findings.

MedlinePlus states “There are more than 600 neurologic diseases.”

People such as Stephen Hawkings demonstrate that a diagnosis of ALS is not always fatal, but can be managed to give the patient hope for living an extended amount of time.

The figures quoted above suggest a strong role in a person’s genetics as being a factor in ALS, yet the role of education seems a little puzzling.

Realizing the cure for ALS may depend on each individuals specific circumstances leads hope for a happy and productive life solution.

 

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