New research will soon be under way on mechanisms to try to halt the progression of amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in mouse models of the disorder.
ALS is known in the Unites States as Lou Gehrig's disease, after the late baseball star who had the disorder. It was also took the life of Morris Schwartz, the Brandeis University sociology professor whose final lessons were chronicled in the movie and the book, "Tuesdays with Morrie."
ALS is marked by gradual loss of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The form of ALS that runs in families appears to be the result of a mutation in the superoxide dismutase gene. Free radicals and other toxic metabolites build up in the body of these patients.
Other causes, such as neurotransmitter toxicity, may also be at fault in ALS.
For details on a new ALS research project, see the lead story in this issue.