ALS (Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis): could it be autoimmune after all?
After spending a few days specifically looking at known cases of ALS and MS (multiple sclerosis) I began to wonder that since many of the phenotypic markers for ALS ( also called Lou Gehrig’s disease) were also found in MS, that perhaps these had a similar pathogenesis or etiology. Of course, MS is the more common of the two but ALS has a more severe presentation and course. ALS has been found to be a neuromuscular degenerative type disease where MS is a more generalized process that affects the muscles less so. MS has been postulated to have an autoimmune process at work while ALS is generally considered to be pure degeneration of the neurons associated with motor or muscular functions within the brain and spinal cord. The treatments or drugs used to treat MS and ALS have been different as a consequence.
Corticosteroids are used frequently in the management of flares of MS along with other medications. This seems to work fairly well in those cases that are not as severe and even in more severe cases. MS is found to be more amenable to having a relatively normal lifespan but eventually it results in multi neurological and body degeneration. The mental processes are more affected with MS while these are spared to some degree with ALS. We all know of the famous professor Stephen Hawking, who despite not being able to walk or even talk he continued his work as a Harvard instructor until his death at a relatively late age for those who have ALS. He is an example that ALS has varying degrees of severity from individual to individual. Moreover, early diagnosis and treatment are also important in extending life expectancy in a disease that most succumb to very soon after its discovery
After studying the phenograms of all of the famous persons with ALS that I could find, it became apparent to me that the marker that is associated with autoimmunity appeared in all of the cases studied. The current model of causation is related to the buildup of glutamate around the neurons and brain tissues of ALS patients. Yet this may be a byproduct and not a cause for the malady. Or it may be an additional factor in combination with autoimmunity that cause the condition. Nevertheless, the finding of the autoimmune component to ALS means that ALS maybe a variant of MS in actuality and that it may indeed be responsive to corticosteroids. There is currently a trial that started this year of 2018 that will explore the effects of these type medications in the treatment of ALS.
Those who are currently suffering from this disease should try to get into this trial or to find a personal physician who is willing to try these medications on you a soon as possible. With the dire prognosis involved with this devastating disease anything that may work should be investigated or tried. I will place a link for the research facility conducting the trial.
I have a school mate who is suffering from the disease and have informed him of my findings in this regard. Hopefully, my work can give some hope to those who are suffering from this terrible disease. My love and prayers go out to those persons and hope them all the best in this learning phase of life for them. Growth comes from difficulties and challenges in life and not from joy and sunshine. Learn from the rain and give the obstacle your best fight. Peace.
Link to trial. https://www.als.net/