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Thread: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Could Be Caused by a Retrovirus, Study Suggests

  1. #1
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    Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Could Be Caused by a Retrovirus, Study Suggests

    Dingo, you're getting to them! :-)

    "While roughly 20 percent of ALS cases appear to have a genetic cause, the vast majority of cases appear to arise sporadically, with no known trigger."

    Sounds like AIS, doesn't it?


    "ScienceDaily (Mar. 2, 2011) — A retrovirus that inserted itself into the human genome thousands of years ago may be responsible for some cases of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig's disease. The finding, made by Johns Hopkins scientists, may eventually give researchers a new way to attack this universally fatal condition.

    While roughly 20 percent of ALS cases appear to have a genetic cause, the vast majority of cases appear to arise sporadically, with no known trigger. Research groups searching for a cause of this so-called sporadic form had previously spotted a protein known as reverse transcriptase, a product of retroviruses such as HIV, in ALS patients' serum samples, suggesting that a retrovirus might play a role in the disease. However, these groups weren't able to trace this reverse transcriptase to a specific retrovirus, leaving some scientists in doubt whether retroviruses are involved in ALS.
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    Although the researchers express caution, the findings, reported in the January Annals of Neurology, suggest that HERV-K might be the ALS retrovirus that researchers have been looking for.
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    He and his colleagues plan to study whether HERV-K might cause neuronal damage, a step closer to linking this retrovirus to ALS. They also plan to study what factors may cause HERV-K to reactivate in some people and lead to ALS symptoms. Researchers might eventually be able to fight ALS, Nath adds, using antiretroviral drugs specific to HERV-K."

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0302121911.htm

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    Interesting Ballet Mom! A cancer link also: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/55452.php
    Idiopathic, from the Latin meaning: we're idiots 'cause we can't figure out what's causing it (TV Dr. House, MD)

    I'm not weird ... I'm simply - multifactorial

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    Balletmom

    The good news about a reterovirus like this is that over time it will die out just like a bad gene. Unfortunately that might take thousands of years! DOH! But sooner or later it's a gonner.

    Hopefully modern science can speed up the process. 8-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    Interesting Ballet Mom! A cancer link also: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/55452.php
    Mamamax! It's so good to hear from you. How are you doing? How's your sister doing? You must be an expert by now in cancer research... :-)

    Thanks for the link, that's very interesting that this seems to be a field of research that is actively being studied. I have to say I really don't like the idea of scientists trying to replicate viruses from way back when...the dinosaurs did die off for some reason after all .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dingo View Post

    The good news about a reterovirus like this is that over time it will die out just like a bad gene. Unfortunately that might take thousands of years! DOH! But sooner or later it's a gonner.
    I'm not sure how a retrovirus like this would die off even over thousands of years...doesn't ALS affect older people who have already produced their offspring?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballet Mom View Post
    Mamamax! It's so good to hear from you. How are you doing? How's your sister doing? You must be an expert by now in cancer research... :-)

    Thanks for the link, that's very interesting that this seems to be a field of research that is actively being studied. I have to say I really don't like the idea of scientists trying to replicate viruses from way back when...the dinosaurs did die off for some reason after all .
    Thanks Ballet Mom :-) Not much time to post actively here these days, but i have been trying to keep up with what's going on. Doing well (thank you for asking), sister is fighting the brave battle and winning at this point. I'm no expert but i have learned more than i ever wanted to about a disease that touches too many lives. Maybe cancer killed the dinosaurs, the small cell variety; from too much smoke and ash in the atmosphere. Well, of all the theories, it's one ;-)
    Idiopathic, from the Latin meaning: we're idiots 'cause we can't figure out what's causing it (TV Dr. House, MD)

    I'm not weird ... I'm simply - multifactorial

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    Thanks Ballet Mom :-) Not much time to post actively here these days, but i have been trying to keep up with what's going on. Doing well (thank you for asking), sister is fighting the brave battle and winning at this point. I'm no expert but i have learned more than i ever wanted to about a disease that touches too many lives. Maybe cancer killed the dinosaurs, the small cell variety; from too much smoke and ash in the atmosphere. Well, of all the theories, it's one ;-)
    I'm so happy to hear your sister is doing well...hooray! :-D

    I'm sure you've been burning the midnight oil trying to help her. What a great sister.

    Hugs to you and your sis! (( <3 ))

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    Balletmom

    I'm not sure how a retrovirus like this would die off even over thousands of years...doesn't ALS affect older people who have already produced their offspring?
    That might be true for many species but humans raise their children and even help with grandchildren. If a gene (or retrovirus) harms health before the age of 60 +/- natural selection is probably acting on it.

    Grandparents aren't an accident of nature. Their health has a material impact on the survival chances of their grandkids.
    Last edited by Dingo; 03-05-2011 at 06:20 PM.

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    IF more often than not, disease is caused by genetic mutation - can the genetic mutation be reversed?

    Maybe.


    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0208230122.htm
    Idiopathic, from the Latin meaning: we're idiots 'cause we can't figure out what's causing it (TV Dr. House, MD)

    I'm not weird ... I'm simply - multifactorial

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    Mamamax

    That's an amazing story and it gives hope to anyone suffering from a chronic health condition. Even after severe mental or physical damage the body may be able to repair itself if it can be put back on track.

    Restoration of fully functional MECP2 over a four week period eradicated tremors and normalized breathing, mobility and gait in mice that had previously been fully symptomatic and, in some cases, only days away from death. "Like many other people, we expected that giving MeCP2 to mice that were already sick would not work," said Bird. "The idea that you could put back an essential component after the damage to the brain is done and recover an apparently normal mouse seemed farfetched, as nerve cells that developed in the absence of a key component were assumed to be irrevocably damaged. The results are gratifyingly clear, though, and must give hope to those who are affected by this distressing disorder."
    My sense is that torso rotation strength training shows that Scoliosis works something like that.
    Last edited by Dingo; 03-06-2011 at 09:49 AM.

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    Mamamax

    Rett syndrome is a true genetic disorder so I decided to google it's prevalence.

    Rett Syndrome Research Trust

    The incidence of Rett Syndrome is estimated at 1 in 10,000 females; in the United States approximately 16,000 children and women affected (similar numbers to ALS, Huntington's, and Cystic Fibrosis).
    1 in 10,000 females (1 in 20,000 overall) is what you expect to find for a childhood, genetic disorder.
    Last edited by Dingo; 03-06-2011 at 09:59 AM.

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    Dingo & Ballet Mom, it's all too deeply interesting isn't it? Here's something also that may play into such things, the enzyme factor - the video is a bit long, but worth the watch.

    http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/si...w=137613#video
    Idiopathic, from the Latin meaning: we're idiots 'cause we can't figure out what's causing it (TV Dr. House, MD)

    I'm not weird ... I'm simply - multifactorial

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    mamamax

    Great video on aging! I'm about halfway through right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamamax View Post
    IF more often than not, disease is caused by genetic mutation - can the genetic mutation be reversed?

    Maybe.


    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0208230122.htm
    That's very cool, mamamax. Let's hope this works in humans also. I hope they find something like this for Parkinson's also...I have a personal interest in that.

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