APR 22, 2017 06:02 PM PDT

The Impact of ALS on Nerve Cells

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

This video from Nature discusses the pathophysiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Learn about what happens to nerve cells or neurons affected by ALS, made famous by the 'ice-bucket challenge' research fundraising effort of 2014. The disease impacts neurons in the spinal cord and brain that control movement. They begin to degenerate, and over time they die. You can see an animation of what happens in the cells.

In the affected neurons, there is a critical buildup of proteins. As those proteins build up, they damage other parts of the cell in a domino effect that ultimately affects the genetic material in the cell. Other dysfunctions in the cell are discussed.

Around 6,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS every year; most who get the disease are between 40 and 70 years old, although it can affect younger people. There seem to be some risk factors for developing the disease (which is not contagious). For example, military vets are twice as likely to get the disorder, and it is around twenty percent more common in men. A lot more research is needed to combat this disease.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
OCT 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 20, 2019
Barn Owls Fly Without Making a Sound
When most birds take flight, their wingbeats cause a ruckus; this is typically a repetitive ‘swooshing’ noise generated by the rushing air that...
OCT 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 20, 2019
Here's Why High-Speed Cameras Are Used to Film Wildlife
When watching TV shows about wildlife in its natural habitat, filmmakers for popular firms such as Animal Planet and National Geographic often showcase vid...
OCT 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
OCT 20, 2019
Microplastics are Everywhere, Including Human Stool
Microplastics have infiltrated the planet, from remote mountain regions to the deepest parts of the ocean. Because of the extensive reach of these microsco...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
Here's Why NASA Wants to Learn More About Metallic Asteroids
NASA’s Psyche mission will investigate the properties of a unique metallic asteroid residing between Mars and Jupiter as it orbits the Sun. It’...
OCT 20, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 20, 2019
NASA's Dawn Mission Taught Us Much About the Asteroid Vesta
In 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft arrived at its destination, enabling planetary scientists with the American space agency to study a particularly capt...
OCT 20, 2019
Plants & Animals
OCT 20, 2019
Watch An Ant Colony Attack This Crab Like a Bunch of Savages
Ants have a particularly striking reputation for being somewhat relentless, and as it would seem, such a reputation doesn’t fetter even when the anim...
Loading Comments...