There are more members in the neurodegenerative diseases family but amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is the ruthless queen. Perhaps the common symptoms can lead to theory of common root cause. ALS related information is not that frequently shown or referred in sources I work with. That ´s why I need to extend my perspective and analyze also information related to similar diseases. Let´s review them.
Number one related disease. Even before I started gathering information about ALS I perceived MS somehow related – of course this is purely naive comparison made by street guy like me. I have actually spent lot of time reading and analyzing (in my head LOL!) autoimmune nature of multiple sclerosis with a goal to find some commonality which could help with ALS deciphering. The problem is the cause for MS is also rather unknown. Some sources claim ALS as not an autoimmune disease – motor neurons are dying from more or less unknown reasons. As you will see later the words “more or less” really make sense because there are some hints. In MS the nerve cells are being damaged partially – the myelin sheats covering and protecting axon are known to be targets of immune system and hence autoimmune disease. However there are also works1 which start mentioning and speculating on autoimmune character in ALS as well. Since I don´t like autoimmunity theory and believe everything has different, more rational explanation it is not that relevant whether ALS has autoimmune character or not – important is to decipher the underlying mechanisms.
Then we have pseudoscientific theory formed by Anthony William and both MS and ALS are described using it – the root causes are claimed slightly different. In both a key role is granted to toxic metals and viral infections, often followed by bacterial coinfections. Below listed GBS and Lyme diseases are also part of Anthony William framework. Is there any commonality? Actually there is – central nervous system (CNS) as well as PNS (peripheral nervous system) is targeted by SOMETHING and as a result nerves get damaged or die with all the unplesant consequences.
Besides environmental and genetic factors viral infections are believed to play role as well – the viruses the science observed and confirmed in MS patients is matching Anthony William information. Pathological similarities between multiple sclerosis and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, and the detection of T cells reactive against components of myelin, have been interpreted as evidence that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. As evidence to the contrary, other researchers point to a failure to induce demyelination by transfer of patient serum or T cells and a lack of specific immune markers for most forms of the disease. Several epidemiological, serological and virological studies have suggested a role for viruses in multiple sclerosis, those most consistently implicated being Epstein–Barr virus and human herpesvirus. Possible mechanisms include direct viral injury to the CNS that results in immunogenic exposure of myelin antigens and subsequent autoimmune damage to myelin, and molecular mimicry between viral antigens and myelin, whereby the immune response that is directed at the virus also results in damage to structurally homologous constituents of the myelin sheath2.
In future I may add more information on MS as there are question marks which science is aware of – the strange infectional like mechanism. I´m linking some further articles3,4 where additional comparsion information can be found. Since I found Anthony William theory strangely matching with my real-life experience I try to trace MS along with ALS.
This GBS5 disease I encountered when reading about history of autoimmunity6. I also found Anthony William mentioned that in his description of ALS on Facebook – again it was case compatible with the whole theory. One man was diagnosed with ALS but based on A.W. the doctor actually made mistake as the man was suffering with GBS. So what is the actuall difference? In this case it looks like PNS is the target of immune system which means something got wrong with your peripherial nerves – arm of leg movement is often quite rapidly impaired. The good news here is people do recover from this condition, despite it is not quick and easy task. It is already not surprising that infections play role here as well and again it seems medicine confirmed presence of the same viruses which Anthony William is mentioning – perhaps he is copying this information from medical sources – or he is a medical medium 😎
- Viral infections
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Bacterial infections
- Mycoplasma pneumonia
- Campylobacter Jeuni
The common pattern is people get sick soon after suffering with diarrhea or respirational infection. That is why I really suspect there is a key role of viral or bacterial infection also in ALS. Repeated infections are known risk-factor in ALS development and at the beginning it can be misdiagnosed with GBS – at least if Anthony William story is a true story. As far as I know the error rate in diagnosing people is pretty high so I tend to believe it. Another thing which is absolutely in line with my pseudoscientifical but intuition driven convinction is how GBS is treated – it gets resolved on its own. In other words the immune system strikes in and is capable to heal the body – all it needs is rest on hospital bed and perhaps some nutrition support. GBS is considered autoimmune but I can see the pattern again – infections everywhere but science states BODY GOT MAD AND STARTED ATTACKING ITSELF … I´m not having dark field microscope and microbiology lab but still I can afford to speculate that the immune system should be smarter than scientists claiming such things. I understand it is matter of fact interpretation (antibodies confirmed etc.) but there is always room for alternative explanation where things start making sense while with AI theory it does not make any sense – story ends with accusing body from incompetency. I´m only reminding the bottom line here – GBS gets treated by immune system not with some drugs people assemble (and become rich!), so where is any incompetency? OK, let´s say it is just lack of knowledge on people side.
People are trying to reveal some new facts like here7 but my impression is – scientists are burried in their low-level tranches and are unable to see things from wider or higher perspectives. Hopefully some breaking news will appear soon.
I was not aware of this disease but very recently a former football player Papa Bouba Diop passed away8. As a footbal fan I indeed knew him and due to the unspecific “after long fight” information I suspected some terrible disease like ALS. Unfortunately in football or sport world it would not be the first case. I´m aware of this and since the disease descriptions are as far as I know all in line with ALS experimental theory I try to contribute somehow as well with ultimate goal to move ALS disease out of incurable category. However in this case it was this Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Once I saw the name “Charcot” I knew this is not far from MS and ALS …
Similarly as GBS above the CMT disease is affecting PNS. Science again revealed genetic factors but otherwise there is no known cure. Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease is caused by genetic mutations that cause defects in neuronal proteins. Nerve signals are conducted by an axon with a myelin sheath wrapped around it. Most mutations in CMT affect the myelin sheath, but some affect the axon9.
What about some possible links with other diseases? Yes there are some traces and lead to multiple sclerosis10,11.
Lyme Disease (Boreliosis)
Lyme disease is probably the most usual disease on this oterwise awkard list. It is associated with tick bug and bacterial infection of spirochetal type. In rare cases Lyme disease can cause serious damage to CNS despite most people are cured with ATBs – still it is not easy to get rid of all problems entirely and mainly forever. I will cover this in more detail in a dedicated post thanks to the special importance it plays in my work.
What is interesting to me anyway is the spirochetal bacteria and hence infection again. Spirochetes are also cause of syphylis – a sexually transmited disease which was killing people slowly in past. Here again a special subtype called neurosyphilis exists and is characterized as CNS infection and damage. This all done by damn bacterium which immune system is unable to get rid of. Famous people who suffered or are suspected to had suffered with syphilis can be found here12. Diagnosing presence of the bacteria played also role in the history of antibodies invention and in turn also autoimmunity theory – so called Wasserman test. Perhaps it was this moment at the very beginning of 20th century which directed people on wrong path in terms of understanding a specific class of diseases which are known as autoimmune.
The links between ALS and Lyme also exist. I found one scientist who was working on this for almost entire professional life – Mrs. Lida Holmes Mattman (1912-2008), a Nobel prize candidate in microbiology. When I saw her details for the first time I had strange feelings as it was again sort of coincidence in my adventurous research where I tried to understand what could cause my health issues.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Other such disease which is known to me is SMA. In my purely amateur research I was assessing the AW theory which could explain MS as well as ALS – please note explain does not mean scientificaly confirm. Theory can become beneficial even before it is fully confirmed and approved. So in my understanding I was asking myself which factors can cause ALS and also reflect the fact that ALS is mainly diagnosed in adults. The thing is that infections (the viral theory) can outbreak at any time so why not kids? Terrible thing, but this is how I got to SMA – it looked to me as some form of “children ALS”. Today I´m aware of very young ALS patients but still not small kids. Was this thinking silly or there is some link again? I need to add one sad update – later I found case of 8 year old girl which was diagnosed with ALS.
Just knowing moto neurons are being damaged means the link is there and there must be something common to both diseases and science is claiming it as well13. Previous studies have shown that one of the causes of ALS is mutation of the FUS gene, and that a deficiency in a protein called the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein causes SMA disease. The SMN protein is present in bodies in the nucleus known as Gemini of coiled bodies, or gems. Reed’s lab connected the FUS protein to the SMN protein and the formation of gems in cellular nuclei13.
Alzheimer & Parkinson
Both of these diseases are sufficiently known and they actually present much bigger problem due to much higher incidence. If there are thousands of ALS patients then there are hundreds of thousands of Alzheimer and Parkinson patients, if not millions. This simple fact results in huge costs associated with these diseases. Breakthrough in any of these diseases would most likely cause revolution. The links or common aspects across these diseases exist and I recommend Michal Schwartz book14 as a nice introduction targeted on public not scientific readers. Besides that I´m adding few additional web links15,16 but everyone can use Google today, right?
Further thoughts …
In my opinion it is a positive signal that science is finding links among all these diseases. I spent some time thinking about diseases in general and was interested where all the names and syndroms take from. Logically I had to conclude people create these names for different expressions to bring in certain order and organization. However there can be also negative side effect – the symptom driven classification can actually cause certain chaos which makes obvious things less obvious. The common sense and analogies are put aside in favor of little differences here or there (gene A vs gene B). I would say people are different here or there and some person will develop disease in slightly different manner – but the root cause can be still the same and the expressions can be very diverse due to all the diversity among people, genetically as well as environments they live in. As a result people make deep dives into various symptoms, create catalogs, give names and much later when they fail with silly symptom suppressing and mostly drug based attempts they start finding links which were there all the time. Genetical factors are important, no doubt, but even here the science can be slightly off. Similarly as with autoimmunity I will dedicate a post on genetic factors and elaborate more on this.
- 1.Pagani MR, Gonzalez LE, Uchitel OD. Autoimmunity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Past and Present. Neurology Research International. Published online 2011:1-11. doi:10.1155/2011/497080
- 2.Love S. Demyelinating diseases. Journal of Clinical Pathology. Published online May 5, 2006:1151-1159. doi:10.1136/jcp.2005.031195
- 3.Holland K, Weatherspoon D. Multiple Sclerosis vs. ALS: Similarities and Differences. Healthline.com. Published May 2, 2019. Accessed December 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/multiple-sclerosis/ms-vs-als
- 4.What’s the Difference Between ALS and MS? WebMD. Published 2019. Accessed December 2020. https://www.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/ms-or-als
- 5.Cafasso J, Weatherspoon D. Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Healthline.com. Published February 27, 2019. Accessed December 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/guillain-barre-syndrome
- 6.Anderson W, Mackay IR. Intolerant Bodies: A Short History of Autoimmunity. 1st ed. Johns Hopkins University Press; 2014.
- 7.Hosokawa M, Arai T, Yamashita M, et al. Differential diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis from Guillain–Barré syndrome by quantitative determination of TDP-43 in cerebrospinal fluid. International Journal of Neuroscience. Published online October 31, 2013:344-349. doi:10.3109/00207454.2013.848440
- 8.Senegal World Cup hero Papa Bouba Diop dies aged 42. NewZimbabwe.com. Accessed December 2020. https://www.newzimbabwe.com/senegal-world-cup-hero-papa-bouba-diop-dies-aged-42/
- 9.Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease. Wikipedia. Accessed December 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charcot%E2%80%93Marie%E2%80%93Tooth_disease
- 10.Cortese R, Zoccolella S, Muglia M, et al. A rare association between multiple sclerosis and Charcot‐Marie‐Tooth type 1B. Brain Behav. Published online September 25, 2016. doi:10.1002/brb3.580
- 11.Doğan Y, Gül Ş, Ceylan AC, Kutsal YG. A special association between Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 1A disease and relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. Published online October 2019:83-85. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2019.07.015
- 12.Gibbons P. Historical Figures Possibly Or Definitely Affected By Syphilis. Ranker.com. Accessed December 2020. https://www.ranker.com/list/historical-figures-with-syphilis/philgibbons
- 13.Chakradhar S. Link found between ALS and SMA. Harvard.edu. Accessed December 2020. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/09/link-found-between-als-and-sma/
- 14.Schwartz M, London A. Neuroimmunity: A New Science That Will Revolutionize How We Keep Our Brains Healthy and Young. Yale University Press; 2015.
- 15.Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet. National Institute of Health. Accessed December 2020. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet
- 16.Parkinson’s Disease. National Institute of Health. Accessed December 2020. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/parkinsons-disease
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