ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.

I woke up this faithful morning after my morning regime, open my my Facebook to check if I have some medical updates and message but to my greatest surprise discover the sporadic spread of the “ ALS ICEBUCKET CHALLENGE” . So I thought of accepting my own challenge by explaining what ALS means so that everybody can really know how detrimental this disease cause the body to loose itself.

Ø An excess amount of glutamate is linked with the cause of ALS as it is known to cause an increase in the amount of free radicals example superoxide
Ø Several genetic factors play their roles in the cause of ALS; they include mutations to chromosome 21 involving various genes such as SOD1, C9orf72, H46R, A4V and G93A. There are many more mutations that are known to predispose one to ALS and more are also being discovered.
Ø Other factors such as environmental toxins, viral agents, trauma, autoimmune factors and lead filings are thought of as probable causative agents, but they are scientifically unproven.

Ø Familial ALS: This is caused by the inheritance of one or more faulty gene(s).
Ø Sporadic ALS: There is no specific known cause for this.
Ø Western pacific ALS: This form normally has the combination of ALS and Parkinson’s disease symptoms.


The symptoms are usually based on the onset and stage of the disease and they include spasticity, pains in the arms and legs which progresses to inability to use them, dysphagia, dysarthria, dyspnea, weakness in bulbar muscles, persistent fasciculation, aspiration of saliva and food can occur, hyperrflexia, Babinski’s sign, monomelic amytrophy, some people may develop frontotemporal dementia, pseudo bulbar affect and cognitive changes, muscle contracture and atrophy.


An extensive medical history and examinations are done as the symptoms may resemble other motor neuron or degenerative diseases. Electromyography tests are conducted and other tests such as nerve conduction (NCV) velocity, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, blood and urine tests, X-ray and computer tomography (CT) scan can be done to rule out other disease that may be present. An electrooculography test can also be conducted.

The only drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of ALS is riluzole as it can decrease the amount of glutamate. There is no cure for ALS and none of the treatment or management system used can reverse its course. They are just used to increase the quality of life and sustain individuals a little bit longer. A physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech-language pathologist, a mechanical and artificial ventilator and a nutritionist can offer palliative hospice care the ALS patients.

So am challenging everybody to know about this disease and spread the news to inform others about it.
                                Written by     chukwuka chukuorah    (faculty of pharmacy EMU)      

ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is a motor neuron degenerative disease that affects the upper motor neuron (UMN) and the lower motor neuron (LMN) of the spinal cord and the brain stem leading to their death. Its name describes it as the lack of muscle nourishment that affects the lateral sides of the spinal cord and leads to scar formations. It is also suggests that the disease affects the voluntary muscles only, due to the death of the neurons that controls them.
                                REVISED AND EDITED BY ….Ajiboro temitope (faculty of pharmacy EMU).
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