Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential Test For Lou Gehrig's Disease At Hand

Date:
October 30, 1997
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Good results in preliminary studies of a potential diagnostic test for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have led Johns Hopkins scientists to call for an expanded trial immediately.

Good results in preliminary studies of a potential diagnostic test for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) have led Johns Hopkins scientists to call for an expanded trial immediately. At this week's meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans, Hopkins neurologist Jeffrey Rothstein, M.D., Ph.D., is asking physicians "to send us cerebrospinal fluid from their patients to give us a larger sample to evaluate the test."

Currently, diagnosis of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is indirect, requiring months of tests to exclude other diseases. "During this time, motor nerve cells are dying," says Rothstein. "If our new test works, doctors can check for ALS at the first sign of ALS-like symptoms and begin treatment much earlier."

A drug called riluzole, approved in 1995 by the Food and Drug Administration, can slow the disease, although it is unable to halt it. Other drugs are under study, and experts believe that earlier application of those treatments could significantly improve the quality of patients' lives.

The test is based on findings by Rothstein and his colleagues last year that about 65 percent of ALS patients have mutations involving abnormal or mutant forms of EAAT2, a protein that normally deactivates and recycles glutamate. Glutamate is a chemical nerve cells use to send messages. ALS patients often have little or no EAAT2 in certain areas of the brain and spinal cord, creating an excess of glutamate that kills the nerves that control muscles.

The usual result is gradually increasing paralysis and death in two to five years. Nearly 30,000 people currently have the disease. It is largely sporadic, and there are no laboratory tests useful for its early diagnosis.

To test the mutations' value as a way of detecting ALS, Hopkins researchers looked for it in the cerebrospinal fluid of 18 ALS patients and 38 non-ALS patients with multiple sclerosis, stroke, headache or other problems. They found it in 12 of the 18 ALS patients, and none of other patients.

"That's a pretty good rate, and it matches what we find in brain tissue post-mortem, but to get a real feel for the potential of this test we need to see what it can do in a much larger population sample," says Rothstein.

The studies that identified EAAT2 abnormalities were funded in part by the Cal Ripken/Lou Gehrig Fund for Neuromuscular Research, a fund for research into ALS and other neuromuscular diseases created in 1995 when Ripken broke Gehrig's long-standing record for consecutive games played. Additional funding comes from the National Institutes of Health, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the ALS Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Potential Test For Lou Gehrig's Disease At Hand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971030101033.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (1997, October 30). Potential Test For Lou Gehrig's Disease At Hand. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971030101033.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Potential Test For Lou Gehrig's Disease At Hand." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/10/971030101033.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins