ALS is a form of sclerosis, classified as a motor neuron disease. The cause of the illness is believed to be an equal part of genetic and environmental with diet and exercise considered as factors to help or stop the disease. Scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science have initiated a new study into the root causes of the disease.
New insight into ALS
The study has shown that specific molecules from gut bacteria could initiate the disease, and others could protect against it. A model has been created to mimic the effects of ALS on a mouse.
The priority was to examine the effects of microbiome disruptions in the animal. After a time it was discovered that its symptoms rapidly developed after the removal of the microbiomes. This allowed the scientists to identify 11 bacterial species that had critical roles in either the initiation of ALS or in its prevention.
Two bacteria species found in the gut have been identified as significant initiators of the disease, and one species showed resistance against it. The bacteria species Akkermansia muciniphila is being studied to explore further its favorable properties in combating ALS.
Hope for preventing ALS
However, researchers stated that these results are in no way indicative of favorable human treatment, for the moment at least. But the way the disease affected the mouse is indicative of how it affects humans as well.
The mouse model that has been engineered with the disease has been designated SOD1. The model is reliant on one gene in particular that initiates ALS. This gene has only been discovered in 3 percent of human patients.
It is meaning that the study has opened a door into gaining insight into the spread of ALS. But they have many more doors to open after this one to gain the knowledge necessary to understand and combat the disease fully.