Medical Research

Dual-Target In Silico Drug Designing for AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS | by Anwesha Chatterjee | Bayes Labs | Jul, 2021

Anwesha Chatterjee

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that is caused by the progressive loss of function in the upper and lower motor neurons in the CNS. One of the most famous personalities to be affected by this disease was Stephen Hawking! On average, about one in 50,000 people each year is diagnosed with ALS. The countries with the highest incidence rate of ALS are Uruguay, New Zealand and the United States.

i. Age Of Onset: 64 years in average

ii. Types of ALS:

There are two different types of ALS, sporadic and familial. Most of the cases are sporadic(90–95%), however about 5–10% of the cases are inherited (familial). The age of onset of familial ALS is at least a decade earlier than sporadic cases.

iii. Early symptoms include:

· Muscle twitches in the arm, leg, shoulder, or tongue

· Tight and stiff muscles (spasticity)

· Muscle weakness affecting an arm, a leg, the neck, or diaphragm

· Slurred and nasal speech

· Difficulty chewing or swallowing

With the progression of the disease, muscle weakness and atrophy spreads to other parts of the body. Individuals may develop problems with moving, swallowing (dysphagia), speaking or forming words (dysarthria), and breathing (dyspnoea). Death usually occurs due to respiratory failure following the loss of ability to breathe on their own.

iv. Genetic disposition:

The first gene associated with the cause of ALS (familial) is the superoxide dismutase gene, SOD1, two decades ago. SOD1 is a major antioxidant protein and a mutation in this gene could cause cytotoxicity. Since then, various other genes have been discovered which are mentioned in the following table:

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