Previouisly published in Examiner
Conclusion of the ALS genetic testing series
Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis diagnosed by the genetic test?
Since 90% of sufferers do not a known predisposition for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, the present genetic test for ALS or SALS is not diagnosed by the genetic test. Instead, neurologists will review family history, take not of the presenting symptoms, and rely on other neurological tests as well, such as muscle and nerve function tests.
Other tests to detect ALS symptoms already present
Neurologists will do physical exams to test muscle function to try to determine if the disease could be present. However, people who do not have a family history, but are exhibiting the symptoms may want to get the test done as well.
Therapy for ALS sufferers
Unfortunately there is not much available in terms of preventative medicine or corrective treatment. Researchers are working hard to find new innovative treatments such as gene therapy. There is no cure at the present time.
Prevalence of ALS in Canada
Roughly 3,000 adult Canadians suffer from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and this condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease is fatal. ALS is a neurologicaldegenerative disorder which causes muscle weakening due to impaired motor neurons in the brain and spinal chord. These damaged neurons will eventually cause failure to breathe and death.
Montreal Neurological Institute
The Montreal Neurological Institute is a world famous hospital and institute and has an excellent research facility and patient care hospital facility. The ALS clinic at the hospital is a world leader in ALS research, treatment, and care. The clinic was opened in 1998 and develops and tests new therapies and works in conjunction with researchers in other countries specializing in this area of study.
The Montreal Neurological Institute is also a trial test center for new drugs for ALS patients. It is presently clinically testing a symptom management trial for controlling pain and spasticity, which is “stiff or rigid muscles with exaggerated, deep tendon reflexes.”
The Tony Proudfoot Fund
Tony Proudfoot, former quarterback for the Montreal Allouettes of The CFL (Canadian Football League) was diagnosed with ALS in 2007. Proudfoot established the Tony Proudfoot Fund to generate public awareness about the disease, provide funding for ALS research at the Montreal Neurological Institute , and provide support for ALS sufferers and their families at the ALS Society of Quebec.