Researchers pinpoint neurochemical marker linked with loss of motor function in ALS

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Article written by Chelsea Novak, via

University of Alberta researchers have identified a neurochemical marker related to the loss of motor function and communication breakdown between the primary motor cortex — the part of the brain that controls our muscles — and the rest of the brain in ALS patients.
The researchers analyzed data collected from five Canadian university hospitals, all part of CALSNIC: the U of A, University of Calgary, McGill University, University of Toronto and University of British Columbia.
Having established a loss of motor function among the ALS patients, the researchers then used functional MRI scans to measure how well the primary motor cortex was communicating with the rest of the brain.
They also used two other tests to measure neurochemicals in the primary motor cortex and monitor the deterioration of white matter in the same area.
“These upper motor neurons are thought to be more likely to be affected by the neurodegenerative process,” says Dey.

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