Ice bucket challenge co-founder dies from ALS

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

The co-founder of 2014’s viral “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” died on Saturday after a years-long battle with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS attacks the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle power, according to the ALS Association.

The exact cause of ALS has not yet been determined but glutamate poisoning is a popular theory suggested by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Glutamate is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, allowing motor neurons to communicate with one another.

Glutamate is supposed to be cleaned by a cell membrane protein after transmitting a message. Researchers suggest ALS patients don’t have enough of that protein.

Glutamate clogs the space between the nerve endings, causing motor neurons to degenerate over time. As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers, causing muscles to atrophy.

Initial symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially the arms and legs. Patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. ALS affects motor neurons
2. Glutamate passing from one neuron to another
3. Cell membrane protein fails to soak up the excessive glutamate
4. Glutamate clogs the space between the neuron endings
5. Motor neuron degenerates causing muscles to weaken
6. Initial and later stages of the disease

VOICEOVER (in English):

“Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. ALS attacks the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle power.”

“Glutamate poisoning is a popular theory for the cause of ALS. Glutamate is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, allowing motor neurons to communicate with one another.”

“Glutamate is supposed to be cleaned by a cell membrane protein after transmitting a message. Research suggests ALS sufferers don’t have enough of that protein. Glutamate then clogs the space between the nerve endings, causing the motor neurons to degenerate over time.”

“As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers, causing the muscles to atrophy.”


SOURCES: ALS Association, The Huntsville Times, The New York Times, NY Daily News
http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html
http://www.al.com/specialreport/huntsvilletimes/index.ssf?als.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/22/business/media/ice-bucket-challenge-donations-for-als-top-41-million.html?_r=0
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/george-w-bush-takes-als-ice-bucket-challenge-article-1.1909966