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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

During the past decade, a great deal of research has been undertaken to better understand the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Data from stroke models has shown that the semisynthetic tetracycline antibiotic minocycline can mediate neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases by inhibiting caspase-1 and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity.

Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder Often Misdiagnosed and Untreated

In past discussions on brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), parallels were drawn between emerging applications and the idea of the "bionic man." However, a presentation by John P. Donoghue, PhD, during a "Hot Topics" plenary session on May 2 at the 59th Annual Meeting of American Academy of Neurology in Boston suggests that current neural interface technology is much more about the marvels of the human neuron and will than about machinery.

The following must be one of the strangest comments I have ever heard on television. An Iraqi businessman uttered it shortly after a wave of missile strikes during the Gulf War. "The rocket flew down my street and took a left," he said in English. It had smashed into its target, a nearby building--leaving his adjacent shop completely undisturbed.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, debilitating, fatal disease that involves degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons. Patients often initially present with limb or bulbar weakness, atrophy, and spasticity, followed by progressive loss of ambulation and, ultimately, respiratory failure, which is the most common cause of death.

Presenting a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is one of the most difficult tasks that a neurologist may have to undertake. Despite the tragic quality of the news, experts in ALS care are exhorting fellow neurologists not to give up on patients in whom ALS is diagnosed.

When I was young and attended church services with the family, the sermons of a certain priest, who was a historian, consisted of anecdotes about desperation and compassion that occurred in such places as Nazi concentration camps, Hell's Kitchen or the Bowery in Depression-era New York, or Dickens-like orphanages somewhere. At the end of his anecdote, the priest would dolefully lilt, Examine your own conscience. It was the point during the sermon when a person might startle awake after nodding off.


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