Health

What Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease have in common

 

Parkinson’s disease is frequently confused with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which typically affects people 50 and older. This uncommon condition is actually known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but it is more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease in honor of the New York Yankees’ famous baseball player who suffered from ALS in the 1920s and 1930s.

Lou Gehrig’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition in which the body selectively kills motor nerve cells, resulting in a variety of issues. Lou Gehrig’s disease occurs when upper and lower motor neurons malfunction.

Professor Kim Hyun-jin from the Department of Neurology at Asan Medical Center said that Lou Gehrig’s disease is a disease in which the upper motor neurons of the cerebrum and the lower motor neurons of the brain spinal cord gradually die. In the early stages, the disease clinically manifests as muscle weakness and eventually progresses to dyspnea. The video was recently posted on the YouTube channel of AMC.

People over the age of 50 experience the greatest increase in the incidence of Lou Gehrig’s disease. However, it can also appear earlier in life.

Additionally, men are more likely than women to develop Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

Cause

In spite of the fact that scientists have discovered a few causative qualities for this illness, they still can’t seem to distinguish the specific pathogenesis. Although there has been speculation that excessive physical activity or head trauma may raise the risk of Lou Gehrig’s disease, no conclusive link has yet been established.

“Several genes that are responsible for ALS have been identified, and it is known that within 10% of all ALS patients have a family history. However, the disease is typically sporadic ALS with no genetic component, Kim stated.

“Several hypotheses have been proposed for sporadic ALS, such as oxidative toxicity and protein homeostasis, but the precise cause has remained unknown,” the article states.

 

Confusion regarding Parkinson’s disease The signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease vary depending on which motor nerve cell part is affected. The tongue muscles weaken or the legs and arms lose strength. When you eat, liquids or food might end up in the wrong place. Speaking may become challenging. This is why early Parkinson’s disease symptoms, which typically appear in the same age group, can be confused with ALS symptoms.

Kim elaborated, “Parkinson’s disease is a disease in which dopamine-secreting neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain are lost, resulting in stiff facial expressions, slow behavior, and abnormal gait.” Although it is distinct from Lou Gehrig’s, the initial symptoms may be comparable. Because of this, the patient may receive a false diagnosis.

She emphasized that the patient must see multiple specialists, undergo multiple tests, and receive an accurate diagnosis for many neuromuscular and systemic diseases that share symptoms with ALS.

 

Diagnostic procedures Currently, doctors use nerve conduction, electromyography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and blood tests to distinguish ALS from other diseases based on its symptoms. When other diseases that could explain this are ruled out, evidence of damage to upper motor neurons and lower motor neurons is discovered through this procedure, and Lou Gehrig’s disease is diagnosed.

Because the disease progresses and causes breathing issues, it is critical to receive a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease as soon as possible. Because of this and the impact it has on quality of life, it is critical to halt the progression of the disease.

Kim mentioned that Lou Gehrig’s disease was difficult to treat.

She added, however, that by addressing the disease’s symptoms and avoiding complications, there are strategies for enhancing quality of life.

 

Treatment Worldwide, riluzole, which reduces excitotoxicity, and edaravone, which reduces oxidative toxicity, are the two approved medications for ALS that have demonstrated clinical benefits.

Edaravone and riluzole do not alleviate symptoms. They can, however, halt the disease’s progression.

Symptoms can be alleviated, according to experts, by starting with an evaluation of respiratory function and tailoring treatment for respiratory rehabilitation and support based on respiratory function.

A gastrostomy, in which a tube is inserted into the stomach to supply adequate nutrition and prevent aspiration pneumonia caused by difficulty swallowing, may also be recommended in the early stages of the disease.

The search for a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease has only recently begun by international researchers.

Kim stated, “RNA therapy is being evaluated to eliminate the effect of the causative gene for hereditary ALS.” “For sporadic ALS patients, clinical trials of various drugs based on various mechanisms are being conducted.”

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