Navigation Links
MRI research demonstrates ALS attacks multiple parts of the brain
Date:9/16/2011

Recently published studies by a researcher in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry demonstrate that ALS known as Lou Gehrig's disease damages neurons in parts of the brain responsible for cognition and behaviour.

ALS, which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that eventually leaves patients unable to move, breathe or swallow. Previous research has shown about 50 per cent of patients with ALS also have mild cognitive and behavioural changes, but between five and 15 per cent of patients can have severe changes resulting in dementia. In Canada, between 2,500 and 3,000 people live with the disease. Most die within two to five years of diagnosis.

Sanjay Kalra, a researcher in the faculty's Division of Neurology and a practising neurologist, has published two papers this year in the American Journal of Neuroradiology providing evidence that ALS affects more than just the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for motor function.

"ALS was previously thought to be a disease restricted to the motor system causing only weakness," says Kalra, the principal investigator in both peer-reviewed papers.

"But a significant proportion of people with ALS also have cognitive and behavioural changes. We wanted to know how ALS was impacting other parts of the brain to cause these symptoms.

"There is increasing evidence from pathological studies of ALS patients post-mortem that not just the motor system is involved. Our research supports this and demonstrates in those living with ALS, that the disease is indeed attacking other parts of the brain. The cognitive and behavioural changes we are seeing in patients are not reactive," he says. "They are not happening because someone is depressed or doesn't have initiative because he is weak. Those changes are happening because there are biological and chemical changes in parts of the brain that are responsible for behaviour and cognition."

Kalra uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) not to just look at pictures of the brain, but also as a means of measuring the levels of various chemicals in the brain. In his most recently published paper, he looked at two different chemicals called NAA and mIns. NAA is known as a neural marker, which means it is only found in neurons, while levels of mIns increase when there is abnormal scarring in the brain.

"If NAA is decreased, it means neurons have died or they are not working. Many papers have shown NAA to be decreased in regions where you expect it to be decreased with ALS the motor cortex. But our recent study shows that these levels are also decreasing in areas of the brain responsible for cognition and behaviour," says Kalra.

His paper published in early 2011 looked at decreasing levels of NAA in the cingulate cortex the first time MRI had been used to measure chemicals in this region of the brain in ALS. And his most recently published paper, which came out late this summer, was the first to demonstrate that NAA was decreasing and mIns was increasing in the frontal lobe, even when there weren't signs of cognitive or behavioural issues in patients. The frontal lobe is considered the hub for cognition and behaviour in the brain.

Kalra would like to continue his research using MRI to track the changes in the brain of those who have ALS, and to evaluate new drugs. Kalra is the leading researcher in Canada to use MRI to study ALS. In November 2010, he was invited to give a presentation at Oxford University, and earlier this year he collaborated with a number of international researchers to write a commentary piece in Lancet Neurology about this growing area of research.

He first became interested in studying ALS when he was a neurology resident looking for a research project using MRI. He has continued studying the disease ever since.


'/>"/>

Contact: Raquel Maurier
raquel.maurier@ualberta.ca
780-492-5986
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Embedded Mobile & M2M Device revenues to Rise to Almost $19 Billion Globally by 2014, Says Juniper Research
2. 2010 HSR Impact Award recognizes surgical safety research
3. MSU launches first anti-counterfeiting research program
4. Researchers map all the fragile sites of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiaes genome
5. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
6. Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
7. Family Research Council: Planned Parenthood Report Oversexualizes Ten-Year-Olds, Undermines Parental Authority
8. Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $1 Million to Drive Critical New Research Tools and Technologies in Parkinsons Drug Development
9. Luth Researchs IndicatorEDG(TM) Study Finds Americans Hopes of Achieving Their Dreams Are Fading
10. International Diabetes Federation awards $2 million to 9 global diabetes research projects
11. Gladstones Robert Mahley to receive Research!America advocacy award
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple ... care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster ... Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s ... Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s ... The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet Fitness, one of the largest and ... plans to open a flagship location in Covington, LA at 401 N. U.S. Highway ... store next to Office Depot in the Holiday Square shopping center. Its location allows ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Asante, a nationally recognized health system in ... existing home health joint venture through an agreement, effective October 1, 2017, to ... home health company with Asante, delivering clinically integrated care, for the past eight ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... -- NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in May 2017 for its highly ... designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative secondary monitor solution, ZeroWire ... support the improvement of patient outcomes, procedural efficiency, and the lowering ... ... ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company ... "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The device will educate the user ... with better efficiency compared to the dated and pricey ... on efficacy of the compression for a more informed ... goal to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: ... third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. ... day with the investment community and media to further ... call will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Investors, ... webcast of the conference call through a link that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: