Lou Gehrig’s Disease Study: Renewing Brain’s Aging Support Cells May Help Neurons Survive

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LOS ANGELES (Oct. 29, 2014) — Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks muscle-controlling nerve cells – motor neurons – in the brain, brainstem and spinal cord, leading to progressive weakness and eventual paralysis of muscles throughout the body. Patients typically survive only three to five years after diagnosis. Now, with publication of a study by investigators at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, ALS researchers know the effects of the attack are worsened, at least in part, by the aging and failure of support cells called astrocytes, which normally provide nutrients, housekeeping, structure and other forms of assistance for neurons.

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