Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 1

Overview

Is there anything I can do to prevent amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

There are two types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): acquired and familial. People who have familial ALS develop the disease because they have inherited genetic changes that cause the disease. As a result, familial ALS cannot be prevented because we cannot control which genes we have. About 5-10% of ALS is familial. Most people who have ALS have the acquired type, meaning that it does not seem to be caused by a single genetic change and may be the result of environmental and other factors. It has been suggested that some environmental factors can make someone more likely to develop ALS. These environmental factors include exposure to heavy metals like mercury and lead, toxic/infectious agents like pesticides, specific types of head trauma, or occupational factors. There are also ongoing studies in United States veterans to determine if military-related exposures have contributed to ALS in that population. However, none of these has been conclusively demonstrated to be a significant cause of all sporadic ALS so there are no specific measures that can eliminate the risk for ALS altogether.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1450/

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and environmental factorsBozzoni V., Pansarasa O., Diamanti L., Nosari G., Cereda C., Ceroni M.Review, 7 - 19doi: 10.11138/FNeur/2016.31.1.007

Military service, deployments, and exposures in relation to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis etiology.Beard JD, Engel LS, Richardson DB, Gammon MD, Baird C, Umbach DM, Allen KD, Stanwyck CL, Keller J, Sandler DP, Schmidt S, Kamel F. Environ Int. 2016 May;91:104-15. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.02.014. Epub 2016 Feb 23

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