disease (MND) has afflicted some of the greatest minds like Stephen Hawking,
David Niven and Lou Gehrig, proving that this disease does not cripple brain
functions but cripples the physical body. Till now, there has been no known
method of diagnosis for this paralyzing condition and no early signs to watch
out for, making this a dreaded disease. Since, anybody can be affected by this
disease, and since the chances of getting this condition increase as the
population ages, the need for early detection method will help delay further
‘Early detection of increased copper and its isotope could signal motor neuron disease.’
A pilot study by
Anthony Dosseto and colleagues from the University of Wollongong, Australia has
aided in moving a step closer to early detection of the condition. The study
involved assessing the concentrations of
before the onset
of the disease and during the disease for mice affected with motor neuron
disease and among healthy controls.
The results of
this study showed that
- The levels of copper and zinc
concentrations were increased in the muscle and in the spinal cord of mice with
motor neuron disease.
were small changes in copper isotope concentration in the blood of mice with
motor neuron disease compared with healthy mice.
of these findings is that the trace element concentrations that were found to
differ between mice with motor neuron disease and healthy mice is that they
were detected even before symptoms set in.
It is unknown at
this stage of the trial if the changes in concentration of the trace elements
were what lead to the disease or were caused due to the onset of the disease.
However, since the differences in concentration of the trace elements are
detected even before the onset of symptoms, they would be ideal markers for
early detection of the disease, providing a better chance at therapy.
Dr. Anthony Dosseto will be detailing this landmark study at the Goldschmidt conference being held in Japan.
Dr. Dosseto says " While this work is only preliminary and applies to a
specific mouse model of MND, it is the first of its kind on this pathology and
brings hope that one day we could use isotopic measurement in blood samples as
an early detection tool of the disease."
Wollongong has been carrying out pioneering research on motor neuron disease.
Earlier this year, researchers from the University found that a gene called
CCNF was dysfunctional among people with motor neuron disease. Improper
functioning of this gene leads to a build up of 'junk'protein which can be
detected and used as a marker of the disease.
Such studies aid
in improving diagnosis and treatment of motor neuron disease, providing hope
- Pilot study tests possible diagnostic tools for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis