In recent months I have seen pictures in magazines and in major newspapers and even on TV of individuals pouring ice water over other individuals in order to promote understanding of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ( ALS ). It is a tragic commentary on American scientific illiteracy that the news media covers such sophomoric behavior and fails totally to inform the Public about ALS.
While earning a degree in psychology more than 40 years ago, I completed a course in physiological psychology that used the exact same textbook on neuroanatomy as first year medical students. Each year since graduation, I have always read at least one book each year on neurology. I would like to comment on some of the facts relating to ALS for the readers of this website. ALS is a serious syndrome and all adults should have some understanding of ALS.
ALS is just one of a group of neurological diseases that are classified as neurodegenerative. Some of the others are: 1) Parkinson’s disease, 2) Alzheimer’s disease, 3) Huntington’s Chorea, and 4) many others that are very rare and with names that would not be recognized. What is so unusual about these diseases is that most of the individuals affected by them have perfectly normal lives until the disease strikes.
In the U.S., ALS has a frequency of 1.5 to 2.0 cases per 100,000 population. Scientists learned in the 1950’s that ALS followed a pattern like a disease seen in Guam. Epidemiologists learned that the People of Guam ate large amounts of a plant known scientifically as Cycas circinalis. Then the scientists learned that there was a compound in this plant called Beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine or L-BMAA for short. L-BMAA, it turned out, was similar to another compound known as L-BOAA which caused spinal cord disease in humans. Scientists have used these two compounds in animal studies to better understand ALS in humans.
While there is not complete agreement among scientists as to the exact cause of ALS, it is known that motor neurons in the spine are destroyed over time. Superoxide dismutase, often indicated by SOD, has two similar molecules in humans that have been classified as SOD-1 and SOD-2. Deficiencies of either or both of these enzymes may allow free radicals to damage and kill motor neurons in the spine. Scientists know that there are 110 different mutations of SOD-1 and that there are about 40 genes that impact ALS.
Possibly it is even more important to realize, as Dr. Russell L. Blaylock points out, that there are compounds in our food supply that are toxic to all neurons. Two very toxic and well known compounds are: 1) Monosodium Glutamate, and 2) Aspartane which is sold as a sweetner. Also, there are new drugs, approved by the FDA that are toxic to the human Central Nervous System.
I challenge my readers to accept the only sane and sensible challenge and type the words ‘ spinal muscular atrophy ‘ into the search box on this homepage and read the related article. Then type the word ‘ homocysteine ‘ into the box and read the second article. You will learn a lot more than having someone pour icewater over your head !
R. Van Conoley (Editor’s note: There is only one compound that I know which operates to reduce the pathological aging process in humans. That compound is Human Growth Hormone. The FDA, in their infinite stupidity, have banned the use of HGH for all medical uses except human dwarfism. The FDA continues to allow toxic drugs onto the prescription market, but bans a substance that could help many over 50 years of age. Caution! HGH ” releasing agents” advertised by ” snakeoil salesmen ” in the unethical end of the health food industry DO NOT INCREASE HGH! HGH can only be administered by injection since it is a protein molecule. )