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The wasting diseases: ALS ... MD ... MS....

The Wasting Diseases

Hardly anyone can honestly complain that the search for cause and cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy (MD), and multiple sclerosis (MS), has not attracted huge sums of money, tremendous resources in scientific research, and fund-rich associations dedicated to find a cure. The problem, however, is elusive, possibly because the focus of those concerted efforts is in the wrong direction.

Many theories certainly abound. There are the medical researchers who are convinced that a yet unidentified virus is the culprit (not unlike the grant seekers who have extracted millions of dollars in pursuit of the "cancer virus," the "AIDS virus" and the many other undiscovered viruses that are invoked when no other explanation can be found at the time).

Other scientific detectives are fascinated by the idea that genetics are involved. Hereditary causes are always conveniently unprovable but can bolster suppositions that become scientific facts.

The least compelling assumption, for these intrepid investigators, is the probability that individuals who are especially vulnerable because of a sudden or cumulative nutrient deficiency could become vulnerable to a wasting disease.

In the case of ALS, for example, a high percentage of patients have been discovered among athletes, such as Lou Gehrig, and individuals who indulge in muscle-exhausting sports. Could the deficiency be caused by a nutrient "hemorrhage"?

Both MD and MS also harbor such unproven, but unexamined hints. Sufferers of the former always show a vitamin E (tocopherol) depletion.

The nutrition/body-wasting link does not yet comprise enough evidence to form a scientifically sound theory, but its logic should be compelling enough to elicit interest and action.
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Title Annotation:amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Mar 22, 1990
Previous Article:Hypertension and skin color.
Next Article:Amino-acid studies raise hopes: nutrients may reduce ALS problems.

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