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Lou Gehrig’s Disease Diagnosis By Spinal Fluid Proteins

Researchers found that high levels of certain proteins in the spinal fluid could predict the onset of Lou Gehrig's disease. The findings of these biomarkers may lead to diagnostic kits for early diagnosis that accurately measure the progression of the disease and monitor the effects of treatment. Connor, Zachary Simmons and Ryan Mitchell worked at the Hershey Medical Center to find an early warning signal for the onset of Lou Gehrig's disease and studied proteins related to inflammation in the spinal cord. They found that the progression of the disease involves excessive inflammation of nerve cells. The team also quoted that these proteins can’t be identified in large-scale protein studies because they are smaller than most other proteins. The researchers studied two groups of patients by extracting spinal fluid. The first group involving 41 patients had Lou Gehrig's disease, while the second group of 31 patients had muscle problems such as weakness and cramps. Then they tested the samples from the two groups for the presence or absence of proteins linked to inflammation. The result was that with with 92 percent accuracy they were able to identify the spinal fluid samples from ALS patients with the help of these biomarkers. In another study it was found that a set of five separate proteins in the blood that are capable of identifying ALS. The proteins in the spinal fluid appear to be more accurate indicators of the disease. The biomarkers could help save time otherwise lost in diagnosing the disease.