ALS case study
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Case Study: ALSBiochemistry 460Kari Claussen
The PatientMy Great Aunt who is 79 was having trouble with her day to day motor skills like walking. She has lived a healthy and active lifestyle and has never had issues like this before so she went to see the doctor with her husband to try to find out what was going on.
What are some tests to do that would help narrow down the possible cause?
Things to Look AtMedical history of the patient and her family along with environmental factors such as smokingGet a complete list of all symptoms and how long they have been occurringBlood TestUrine Test
Diagnosis of ALSElectromyogram (EMG)Nerve conduction studyMRIBlood and urine testsSpinal tapMuscle biopsyAll of these tests can rule out other possible conditions that relate in similar symptoms since ALS is hard to diagnose in the earlier stages
Facts about ALSDisease breaks down nerve cells and causes muscle disabilityCause is unknown and considered rarePeople with ALS tend to have higher levels of glutamate Starts in the hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your bodyA few of the early symptomsDifficulty walking or doing your normal daily activitiesSlurred speech or trouble swallowingMuscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
GlutamateA most abundant neurotransmitter accounting for over 90% of synaptic connections in the brainAmino AcidSynthesized in the central nervous system from glutamine
Ice Bucket ChallengeA trend that was shared on Facebook thousands of times and kept going as the participants challenged others to help raise awareness for ALSThe whole point of this was to give the participants a second of being in the shoes of a person with ALS because you cant feel your body for a moment and have a hard time speaking and the cold water takes away your breath
What are some medications that could help her with this disease?
ALS MedicationsRiluzole is the only proven drug to help slow the progression of ALS in some peopleThey think that it might reduce levels of a chemical messenger in the brain (glutamate) that's often present in higher levels in people with ALSOther medications can also be prescribed to help with other symptoms that come with ALS
Biochemistry of RiluzoleNot a complete understanding of how Riluzole worksThey think that is blocksTTX -sensitivesodium channels, which are associated with damaged neurons