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What causes lateral amyotrophic sclerosis?

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Scientists do not know what causes lateral amyotrophic sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. In a familial type of the disease, scientists found mutations in a gene that produces a certain enzyme. However, they don't know how the mutations lead to the degeneration of the motor neurons that cause lateral amyotrophic sclerosis.

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Scientists have also found abnormalities in other genes in people who suffer from lateral amyotrophic sclerosis, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. These mutated genes may affect the way RNA works in the cells or interfere with the way the body uses proteins. The motor neurons themselves may be defective or more vulnerable to toxins. Trauma may also play a part in lateral amyotrophic sclerosis. In one study, soldiers who fought in the Gulf War were found to be more likely to develop the disease than soldiers who were not deployed.

There is no cure for lateral amyotrophic sclerosis as of 2015, states the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. The care for the patient is palliative and is meant to let him a meaningful quality of life for as long as possible and then to ease his physical and psychological pain as the disease progresses.

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