Navigation Links
Reports claiming ALS caused by head trauma lacks scientific validation

A recent study (1) suggesting that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may be attributed to "repetitive head trauma experienced in collision sports" lacks scientific epidemiological evidence to support this claim. In a review of the 12-patient study, several experts specializing in motor neuron diseases challenge the findings as entirely pathological and without clinical merit. Their editorial, which aims to dispel doubts of Lou Gehrig's ALS diagnosis, is now available online in the peer-reviewed journal Muscle & Nerve.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurological disease that attacks nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord which control voluntary muscles. As the upper and lower motor neurons degenerate, the muscles they control gradually weaken and waste away, leading to paralysis. Other symptoms of ALS include difficulty breathing, issues with swallowing (gagging, choking), and speech problems. According to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke roughly 20,000 to 30,000 Americans have ALS, and 5,000 patients are diagnosed annually with the disease.

In the editorial, the authors cite two media reports"Brain Trauma Can Mimic Lou Gehrig's Disease" in the New York Times and "Maybe Lou Gehrig Didn't Die of Lou Gehrig's Disease" in Time magazineas lacking in scientific validation. These reports have led to numerous inquiries from ALS patients who are seeking answers from their physicians.

"Media coverage generated by the McKee et al. study has caused much concern for our ALS patients who now believe they may be misdiagnosed," said Dr. Stanley H. Appel, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, and one of the foremost experts on Lou Gehrig's disease. "We want to make it clear to physicians and their ALS patients that reports of Lou Gehrig succumbing to anything but the disease which bears his name are inaccurate."

The study in question reported pathological changes of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in 12 patients, 3 of whom displayed both the TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) and tau in their spinal cords. The build-up of toxic proteins contributes to a number of neurodegenerative diseases, with TDP-43 found in most ALS cases and tau more commonly associated with dementia. Based on the findings of both proteins in the 3 subjects, the study authors concluded that head trauma and CTE led to an "ALS-like" condition, which one author during media interviews, suggested naming chronic traumatic encephalomyopathy (CTEM).

"There is no clinical or pathological evidence of muscle disease reported in the study that would support a diagnosis of CTEM," added Valerie Cwik, M.D., Executive Vice President and Medical Director for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and co-author of the editorial. "More likely their 3 patients with CTE and ALS had the two distinct diseases."

The editorial authors maintain that an ALS diagnosis is established when patients meet well-defined clinical criteria rather than identification of pathological findings. Editorial contributor, John W. Day, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Muscular Dystrophy Clinic at the University of Minnesota Medical Center concluded, "Further studies are needed to fully understand the potential role of trauma in ALS and investigation of TDP-43 and tau as potential targets for therapeutic interventions are warranted."


Contact: Dawn Peters

Related medicine news :

1. Study Reports More Precise Way to Remove Cataracts
2. Elderly women at higher risk for unnecessary urinary catheterization, study reports
3. MRSA Strain With Outbreak Potential Among Reports at Disease Conference
4. Estrogen replacement therapy speeds ovarian cancer growth, new study reports
5. McMaster study contradicts reports of problems with blood-thinner
6. Sirius XM to broadcast Doctor Radio Reports: Understanding Autism -- Looking for Answers
7. SDI Reports: Novo Nordisk Takes Top Ranking Among Endocrinologists, According To Pharmaceutical Company Image Study
8. Social Security Disability Benefits Can Be Crucial to Surviving With Spinal Cord Injury, Allsup Reports
9. Revolutionary therapy slows tumor growth in advanced breast cancer, Penn research reports
10. Advocate Health Care Reports $462 Million in Community Benefits
11. SDI Reports: Roughly Half of Patients Prescribed the Most Popular Osteoporosis Drugs Discontinue Therapy Within 6 Months -- Amgen's Prolia Offers New Dosing Option
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. are ... Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay tribute ... presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference (AEC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute Beauty ... Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest partner. ... and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be invisible.” ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Strategic Capital Partners, ... economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology companies. SCP has delivered ... already resulted in more than a million dollars of capital investment for five ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) ... held on June 20th at the Woodmont Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, ... organization dedicated to helping service members that have been wounded in battle and their ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Advanced Plastic Surgery Institute ( ... as its official Medspa Sponsor. Dr. Josh Olson, a board-certified plastic surgeon, owns ... Dr. Olson says the decision to support the pageant in an official capacity ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 The Academy of Managed ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to more ... that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move that ... new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions in ... on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders decision ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers ... Market analysis in the report includes the following: ... Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 ... appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher to ... Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher was also ... and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive member of ... expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx in connection ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: