Spotlight on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a devastating neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness without notable sensory loss. Although studies show that riluzole prolongs life only 2 to 3 months, it is the only U.S. FDA-approved medicine shown to affect survival for this condition. In this article, the authors review clinical manifestations, Dr. Gibson of the University of Utah, symptomatic management, and clinical trials and provide updates on recent genetic discoveries.

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Spotlight on Neurodegenerative disorders: treatment with neurotrophic factors

Neurotrophic factors are polypeptides that regulate the proliferation, survival, migration, and differentiation of cells in the nervous system. Neurotrophic factor therapy is based on the evidence that these factors stimulate the survival of degenerating neurons. In this clinical summary, Dr. K K Jain of Basel, Switzerland reviews the role of neurotrophic factors for therapy of neurodegenerative disorders. Delivery to the CNS is a problem because the large neurotrophic molecules cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, and methods to overcome this are described. Several clinical trials have failed, but others are in progress. Gene therapy with stereotactic implantation into the putamen of the gene for neurturin, a member of the same family as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, is in phase II clinical trials for Parkinson disease. A similar gene therapy approach for Alzheimer disease using nerve growth factor has shown neuroprotective effect in phase I clinical trials. Vascular endothelial growth factor, delivered by an intracerebroventricular pump, is in phase II/III clinical trials for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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MedLink Neurology authors are always at work to bring you broad and up-to-date coverage of neurology topics. We are pleased to highlight clinical summaries that have been recently added or updated and to introduce the authors who write these authoritative articles. We hope you enjoy these overviews and appreciate the contributions of our more than 450 authors who keep MedLink Neurology the premier information resource for neurologists.

Spotlight on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness without notable sensory loss. Although studies show that riluzole prolongs life only 2 to 3 months, it is the only U.S. FDA-approved medicine for this condition.

In this clinical summary, Dr. Jinsy A Andrews, Director of Research and the Clinical Trials Unit at Hospital for Special Care, and Dr. Hiroshi Mitsumoto, Director of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig MDA/ALS Center at Columbia University Medical Center, review clinical manifestations, provide updates on recent genetic discoveries, discuss recent reports of head trauma and motor neuron disease, discuss recent advances in technology (including the FDA approval of diaphragm pacing for ALS and brain computer interfaces), and cover the recent initiation of the ALS registry.

To view the complete clinical summary, click here.

MedLink Neurology authors are always at work to bring you broad and up-to-date coverage of neurology topics. We are pleased to highlight clinical summaries that have been recently added or updated and to introduce the authors who write these authoritative articles. We hope you enjoy these overviews and appreciate the contributions of our more than 450 authors who keep MedLink Neurology the premier information resource for neurologists.