Saturday, November 30, 2013

Genetic Mutations in ALS and Dementia

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University recently released findings related to the ability to manipulate brain cells in test tube studies. The purpose was to determine if new drugs might be used to stop the brain-destroying impact of a genetic mutation at work in some forms to two incurable diseases:  Dementia and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease ALS, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named for the Yankee baseball great who died from it, which destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.) Traditionally, “Efforts to treat neurodegenerative diseases have the highest failure rate for all clinical trials,” says J. D. Rothstein MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the research described online in the journal Neuron. The research was funded by grants from several organizations including the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This is very good news. In the future, this may mean that scientists analyze cerebral spinal fluid from patients with dementia and ALS in a new way. These may pave the way to develop markers that can be studied by clinicians to see if the treatment is working once the drug therapy is moved to clinical trials.

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