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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Huntington disease, neurogenetics, George Sumner Huntington, Systematic Evaluation of Treatments for Huntington's Disease, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Clinical trials--and how they are conducted--have been getting a lot of attention lately, as discussed in our article, "Clinical Trials Appear Headed for More Openness," beginning on page 13. We had already finished editing the article, however, when I got a notice on June 22 about a survey commissioned by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. According to the results, of the surveyed US physicians who treat people with Parkinson disease (PD), 96% agreed that clinical trials are necessary to develop better treatments.

Until recently, physicians assumed that any recovery from spinal cord injury (SCI) was limited to the first few months to a year after the injury occurred. In children, this window of opportunity for recovery could last about 2 years. Certainly, no one expected any significant recovery in any person with a chronic SCI or other condition that causes SCIs, such as a stroke, blood clots, or arteriovenous malformation affecting the spinal cord.

Animal models enable researchers to track amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathogenesis. Erik Storkebaum, MSc, and colleagues at the Center for Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy at Flanders Interuniversity, Leuven, Belgium, took several approaches to increase supply of the neuroprotective protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in an animal model. "When administered to rats at 60 days, which is 1 month before symptoms, it delayed onset and prolonged survival by 22 days. When we gave VEGF at the age of disease onset, which more closely mimics the human situation, the treatment still prolonged life by an average of 10 days," Storkebaum reported at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in October 2004

Can a common cough medicine contribute to effective treatment of symptoms in persons with neurologic disorders? The evidence is mounting in its favor. At the recent American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, research results were presented from a phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study into the safety and efficacy of a dextromethorphan/quinidine capsule in

Neurodegeneration associated with glaucoma was prevented in DBA/2J mice as a result of treatment with 1000 rads of radiation plus T-cell-depleted bone marrow.

Plenty of data show that a greater share of physicians practice in urban than in rural areas. The Council of Graduate Medical Education called it geographic maldistribution, "one of the most enduring features on the American health landscape," and said that it is likely to continue until universal health care is enacted.


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