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Motor neurone disease

Category: Illness or disabilities

Type

Involuntary

Introduction and description

Motor neurone disease is a debilitating disease characterised by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, muscle spasticity, difficulty speaking (dysarthria), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), and difficulty breathing (dyspnea). ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases.  It appears to be caused by a bacteria, of which more in a moment.

Symptoms

Motor neurone disease causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by the degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared until the terminal stages of the disease.

Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients, although some (about 5%) also have frontotemporal dementia. A higher proportion of patients (30–50%) also have more subtle cognitive changes which may go unnoticed, but are revealed by detailed neuropsychological testing. Sensory nerves and the autonomic nervous system are generally unaffected, meaning the majority of people with ALS will maintain hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste.

Cause

Scientists have noticed that those with motor neurone disease have high levels of glutamate.  Glutamate is the ‘exciter’ of our system and too much of it can do damage.  In scientific language it is called excitotoxicity – meaning the glutamate is there in toxic proportions and thus possibly starts to destroy cells or neurons.  Once the receptors for the glutamate have been destroyed then the symptoms start to appear as ‘impaired uptake occurs as part of the ischemic cascade’.  The same problems can be seen in people with a stroke and diseases like, autism, some forms of mental retardation, and Alzheimer's disease.  Glutamic acid has been implicated in epileptic seizures.

So we have a common thread running through here – brain damage caused by over production of glutamate caused by – what?  And the what appears to be a toxin and in this case bacteria.

Attack of the nervous system by Clostridium perfringens Epsilon toxin: from disease to mode of action on neural cells - Wioland L, Jean-Luc D Jean-Louis B, Popoff MR, Poulain B. - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Université de Strasbourg, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives (INCI), UPR3212, Strasbourg, France.

Epsilon toxin (ET), produced by Clostridium perfringens types B and D, ranks among the four most potent poisonous substances known so far. ET-intoxication is responsible for enterotoxaemia in animals, mainly sheep and goats. This disease comprises several manifestations indicating the attack of the nervous system. This review aims to summarize the effects of ET on central nervous system. ET binds to endothelial cells of brain capillary vessels before passing through the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, it induces perivascular oedema and accumulates into brain. ET binding to different brain structures and to different component in the brain indicates regional susceptibility to the toxin. Histological examination has revealed nerve tissue and cellular lesions, which may be directly or indirectly caused by ET. The naturally occurring disease caused by ET-intoxication can be reproduced experimentally in rodents. In mice and rats, ET recognizes receptor at the surface of different neural cell types, including certain neurons (e.g. the granule cells in cerebellum) as well as oligodendrocytes, which are the glial cells responsible for the axons myelination. Moreover, ET induces release of glutamate and other transmitters, leading to firing of neural network. The precise mode of action of ET on neural cells remains to be determined 

Clostridium perfringens (formerly known as C. welchii) is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming bacterium of the genus Clostridium.  C. perfringens is ever present in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates, insects, and soil.  C. perfringens is the third most common cause of food poisoning in the United Kingdom and the United States though it can sometimes be ingested and cause no harm.

So the ultimate cause may be food poisoning and/or a' leaky gut'.

How it works

The defining feature of Motor neurone disease  is the death of both upper and lower motor neurons in the motor cortex of the brain, the brain stem, and the spinal cord. “Prior to their destruction, motor neurons develop proteinaceous inclusions in their cell bodies and axons. This may be partly due to defects in protein degradation”.   So the cause of any spiritual experiences is .....

Brain damage

See also Bacterial infection for some more background

 

References and further reading

More information about Nervous system diseases as a whole and all their causes can be found by following the link.  It is worth looking at this section, as although the cause of motor neurone diseases has been narrowed down to bacteria so far, it may be that in the future it may be realised that the other causes of nervous system diseases play a role too.

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