Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affects more than one part of the brain, shows study led by an Indian-origin researcher.
"ALS was previously thought to be a disease restricted to the motor system causing only weakness," said Sanjay Kalra, in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and a practising neurologist.
Many previous studies have shown that a brain chemical decreases in regions of the motor cortex as a result of ALS.
But using advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Kalra found that these levels are also decreasing in areas of the brain responsible for cognition and behaviour.
"There is increasing evidence from pathological studies of ALS patients post-mortem that not just the motor system is involved," he said.
"Our research supports this and demonstrates in those living with ALS, that the disease is indeed attacking other parts of the brain. The cognitive and behavioural changes we are seeing in patients are not reactive," he added.