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Novel protein may help detect Lou Gehrig's disease and dementia, Mayo Clinic finds
Date:2/12/2013

onal death and toxicity in these diseases, it may be possible to design therapies to break the clumps apart or to prevent the protein from accumulating in the first place, Dr. Petrucelli says.

Because the protein is found throughout the central nervous system in patients with ALS and frontotemporal dementia but not in other neurodegenerative diseases the researchers hope that in the future it can be tested through a spinal tap.

After Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia is the most common form of early onset neurodegenerative dementia. It is characterized by changes in personality, behavior and language due to loss of gray matter in the brain's frontal lobe. ALS destroys motor neuron cells that control essential muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing and swallowing.

This new discovery stems from a key finding, reported simultaneously in 2011 by Mayo researchers and scientists from the National Institutes of Health, that an unusual mutation a short DNA sequence repeated hundreds to thousands of times was found in almost 12 percent of familial frontotemporal dementia and more than 22 percent of familial ALS samples studied.


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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-2299
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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