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Over 135 Years of Combined Experience In Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Study suggests that brain trauma makes ALS worse

Few neurological disorders are as frightening as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. This disease causes nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to degenerate and die, gradually robbing the patient of his or her strength and ability to move.

ALS is relatively rare, with around 5,600 people being diagnosed each year. But given that there is no cure, and that patients’ life expectancy is generally two to five years, there is a great deal of interest in finding a cure.

A new study suggests a possible link between traumatic brain injury and ALS, long term. The lead researcher says that her findings do not suggest that a TBI can cause ALS; rather, a TBI can take an existing case of ALS and make it worse over time, NewsOK reports.

The research time studied their hypothesis that TBI can accelerate the progression of ALS on lab mice. The mice had been bred to develop ALS. Researchers gave the mice mild brain injuries and tested the effects. They found that the mice with brain injuries showed reduced coordination, muscle function and grip strength.

This suggests that a person who already is in the early stages of ALS could experience more severe symptoms sooner if they suffer a brain injury. Whether this finding can indeed apply to humans, and whether it could contribute to future treatment options for ALS or TBI, remains to be seen.

If nothing else, this study shows how a brain injury can lead to a myriad of effects -- some immediate, others that may not develop for years.

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