Causes Of ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehric’s disease is a fatal neurological disorder which attacks the neurons or the nerve cells which are responsible for controlling the voluntary muscles. The disease brings about a disorder in the motor neurons are known as motor neuron diseases which are characterized by the death of the motor neurons and their gradual degeneration.
Motor neurons are generally found in spinal cord, brain and brainstem. They serve as the controlling units and vital communication links between the nervous system and voluntary muscles of the body. The message travels from the motor neurons of the brain to the motors neurons of the spinal chord and then to the respective muscles. In case the disease strikes the motor neurons of both the brain and the spinal chord are destroyed resulting in the ceasing of the message sending process to the muscles.
What Causes ALS:
The main cause of the disease ALS is not yet clearly known. But scientists have some vague ideas about the occurrence of these diseases. They are:
- Gene Mutation: An enzyme called SOD1 is a powerful antioxidant which protects the body from the damage of free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules which are produced by cells during normal metabolism. If these are not neutralized then they can accumulate and cause random damage to the DNA and proteins which is inside it. Although the real reason for this is not yet known.
- Glutamate: This is considered to one of the reasons of this disease. The scientists have seen large quantity of glutamate in the patients suffering from ALS. Glutamate is one of the neuro messenger or chemical neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Autoimmune Responses: These types of responses occur when the immune system attacks the normal cells of the body. These have been considered as one of the reasons for the disease of ALS. Some scientists are of the view that antibodies may directly or indirectly impair the function of motor neurons which can interfere with the transmission of the signals between the brain and the muscles.
- Environmental Factors: Some scientists are of the view that environmental factors like exposure to toxic agents, dietary deficiency or trauma can be one of the reason for this disease. But this has not yet been clearly proven.