(AbsoluteNews.com) – In 2014, a viral challenge swept the world. People were filmed as they stood around and had buckets of ice water poured on their heads. The challenge had a special goal though: to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease). ALS is a degenerative disease that destroys the nerve cells that control a person’s voluntary muscles. People with the disease gradually lose all control of their muscles. The campaign was highly successful, raising more than $130 million to support research into the terrible disease.
Seven years later, the deadly illness is back in the news. This time it has to do with children.
According to a study published on May 31 in the journal Nature Medicine, scientists have discovered a new form of ALS. This mutation of the disease is rare and it affects children. The study found 11 children who had symptoms of the disease that started to appear at around age 4.
Dr. Payam Mohassel, the study’s lead author, said the patients had neurological symptoms that were “indicative of ALS.” The doctor said the new form of the disease was “unique” because of the “early age onset and the slower progression of symptoms.”
Not all of the news is bad. Researchers think they may have found a treatment for the disease. They think they identified the gene that causes ALS and that has helped them identify a possible treatment. The ice bucket challenge actually helped fund the discovery of the ALS gene.
The researchers found that the gene mutation increased the levels of sphingolipids, a group of structural and functional lipids (fats). The new ALS mutation essentially “takes the brake” off of an enzyme that helps produce those lipids. Scientists think that if they can restore the brake, then maybe they can treat the disease. They also tried another experiment where they used a technique to “silence” mutated genes.
Dr. Carsten Bönnemann, another author of the study, said researchers are hopeful that they can “translate these ideas into effective treatments” for patients who have no other treatment options. In the meantime, if any people want to dump buckets of ice water on their heads to raise some money for research, that could help fund the next big breakthrough.
You Deserve the Absolute Truth!
Copyright 2021, AbsoluteNews.com