ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answers
May 11, 2016 - als
Lou Gehrig’s disease, famous as amyotrophic parallel sclerosis or ALS, strikes healthy, prime people clearly during random. Of a vital neurodegenerative diseases, it has a slightest wish for diagnosis and survival. Although mental capabilities stay intact, ALS paralyzes people, mostly from a outward in, and many patients die within 3 years when they can no longer breathe or swallow. At any given time, an estimated 30,000 are fighting for their life with it in this country. We any have about a 1 in 400 possibility of building this dreaded disease.
ALS is some-more common than generally recognized, with an occurrence rate now tighten to that of mixed sclerosis. What causes it? 50 years ago scientists found that a rate of ALS among a inland peoples on a island of Guam was 100 times that found in a rest of a world, potentially charity a idea into a means of a disease.
Cycad trees were suspected as a source, given a powdered seeds were a dietary tack of a locals and there were reports of stock display neurological illness after eating from it. And indeed, a new neurotoxin was found in a seeds, called BMAA. But a volume of BMAA in a seeds people ate was so tiny that it was calculated that people would have to eat a thousand kilograms a day to get a poisonous dose—that’s around a ton of seeds daily. So, a whole cycad speculation was thrown out and a route went cold.
But afterwards famed neurologist Oliver Sachs and colleagues had an idea. Cycad seeds were not all a locals ate. They also ate fruit bats (also famous as drifting foxes) who ate Cycad tree seeds. So maybe this is a box of biomagnification adult a food chain, as about a “ton” value of BMAA amass in a drifting foxes.
The final spike in a coffin was a detection of high levels of BMMA in a smarts of 6 out of 6 local victims of a illness on autopsy, though not in control smarts of healthy people that died. So with a final nonplus square apparently in place, a resolution was found to this puzzling cluster on some outlandish pleasant isle of ALS/PDC, supposed since a form of ALS aggressive people in Guam also had signs of Parkinson’s illness and dementia, so they called it ALS parkinsonism insanity complex.
So when a researchers were selecting a comparison control brains, they also enclosed dual cases of Alzheimer’s disease. And these smarts had BMAA in their smarts too. But these were Alzheimer’s victims in Canada, on a conflicting side of a globe. So a researchers ran some-more autopsies and found no BMAA in a control brains, though BMAA detected in all a Canadian Alzheimer’s victims tested.
It turns out that cycad trees don’t make a neurotoxin: it’s indeed a blue-green algae that grows in a roots of a cycad trees that creates a BMAA that gets in a seeds, that gets in a bats, that finally gets into a people. And it’s not usually this specific form of blue-green algae, though scarcely all forms of blue-green algae found all over a universe produce BMAA. Up until usually about a decade ago we suspicion this neurotoxin was cramped to this one uncanny pleasant tree, though now we know a neurotoxin is combined by algae via a world; from Europe to a U.S., Australia, a Middle East, and elsewhere.
So if these neurotoxin-producing blue-green algae are entire via a world, maybe BMAA is a cause of on-going neurodegenerative diseases including ALS worldwide. Researchers in Miami put it to a exam and found BMAA in a smarts of Floridians who died from occasionally Alzheimer’s illness and ALS, though not in a smarts of those that died of a opposite neurodegenerative illness called Huntington’s, that we know is caused by a genetic mutation, not some neurotoxin.
They found poignant levels of BMAA in 49 out of 50 samples from 12 Alzheimer’s patients and 13 ALS patients. The results, shown in a video below, suggested that bearing to BMAA was widespread. The same thing was afterwards found in a smarts of those failing from Parkinson’s disease. You can apparently even pick up some-more BMAA in a hair of live ALS patients compared to controls.
So is BMAA benefaction in Florida seafood? Yes, in freshwater fish and shellfish, like oysters and bass, and out in a sea as well. Some of a fish, shrimp, and crabs had levels of BMAA comparable to those found in a fruit bats of Guam.
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If we haven’t yet, we can allow to my giveaway videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting a Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.