Cause of ALS is Found, Brings Hope for a Cure for Alzheimer's Disease

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Moving Pictures Inc. directs more funds to neurological research as a new study from Northwestern Univeristy identifying common cause of ALS provides a target for drug therapy, opening the field to possible treatment for neurogenerative diseases characterized by irregular protein accumulation, like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

This study provides robust evidence showing a defect in the protein degradation pathway causes neurodegenerative disease.

Moving Pictures, Inc. (MPI) has doubled the percentage of their profits that they donate to Alzheimer's and dementia research, excited by the recent scientific breakthrough from Northwestern University. A new University study published in Nature identifying evidence of a common cause in all forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a neurodegenerative disease causing fatal paralysis, opens a door to a cure for a disease that has long stumped scientists.

The study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that irregular protein degradation of ubiquilin2 is common in all forms of ALS. When the disease is present, the damaged proteins are not recycled and taken away, instead they accumulate in neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This accumulations causes the nervous system to lose its ability to relay messages to the body's muscular system, gradually depriving those with the disease of their ability to move and breathe. This discovery could have a broader impact on treatment of other neurodegenerative diseases also characterized by the irregular accumulation of proteins, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Neuroscientist and senior author of the study, Dr. Teepu Siddique has been studying ALS for a quarter century. He said, "It was one of the most difficult problems in neurology and the most devastating, a disease without any treatment or known cause."

The Feinberg School's associate professor of neurology and lead author of the study, Han-Xiang Deng, M.D., said, "This study provides robust evidence showing a defect in the protein degradation pathway causes neurodegenerative disease… there was little direct evidence before this study." This breakthrough could allow scientists to share targeted research and test drugs that could help optimize protein recycling. Notable for disabling renowned scientist, Steven Hawking, ALS is a devastating disease, for which scientists have been unable to provide a cure. This new study simultaneously breathes hope into research of Alzheimer’s disease, another progressive neurodegenerative disease without a known cure.

In the United States, 5.4 million people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2050, experts estimate that that number will have tripled. Currently, there are clinical trials underway of a therapy that may help those with dementia and other neurological disorders. Moving Pictures, Inc. has developed a combination Retention and Stimulation therapy called Photographic Journeys designed to reduce the stress and anxiety of living with memory loss and continues to fund neurological research in the hopes of finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Medical advances like these from Dr. Siddique, Dr. Deng and senior research technologist in neurology, Wenjie Chen, bring renewed hope to the neurological field and fuel the next wave of research.

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