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VIRUS AND ALS

COULD A VIRUS SIMILAR TO THE AIDS VIRUS CAUSE LOU GEHRIGíS DISEASE? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Retroviruses are best known for causing AIDS, but now Avindra Nath and colleagues at Johns Hopkins have found such a virus integrated into specific areas of DNA in people with amyelotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrigís disease.

NATH: It was present only in the ALS patients and not in Parkinsonís patients and not in patients who had died in roadside accidents or drowned and such. We think that that association could be important. We did find some expression in a small number of patients who had died of other chronic systemic diseases. However, when we mapped the sites from which they were coming from, they were coming from areas within the chromosome that were not capable of forming full and complete viral particles. So thatís why we think the association needs to be looked at a little bit more closely.      :30

Nath emphasizes that itís far too early to establish cause and effect, but that the association is quite provocative and deserves more evaluation. At Johns Hopkins, Iím Elizabeth Tracey.



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