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Motor Neuron Disease
emerging shark (IP Logged)
10 February, 2019 20:25

I know I know, Daily Mail... but look at the people involved...

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
DaveAitch (IP Logged)
10 February, 2019 22:43
One might expect professional boxers to suffer most from Motor Neurone Disease if repeated blows to the head are the main initiating factor.

The article does say "An exhaustive new study has concluded that the risks of developing Motor Neurone Disease are more than eight times higher among those who sustain repeated blows to the head and spine in top level sport, Sportsmail can reveal", so why do they need to study it further?

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
PoyntonShark (IP Logged)
11 February, 2019 04:22
Exhaustive looks like the Mail wording. The Surgeon explains why more study is needed, and why it certainly was not an exhaustive study. Whilst I tend to question The Mail's motives for most things, surely anything that generates more knowledge of this disease has to be a good thing. Like you Dave I would expect Boxers to suffer most if repeated blows to the head are the primary factor. I would also expect the blows received by footballers and rugby players to be of very different natures. Probably explains why the best Mr Hutton can offer right now is "It looks like there is a link". Given that 2 of the world's richest sports appear to be at the top of the tree, and have welcomed the research, here's hoping that they can contribute to future research.

Unhappiness, where's when I was young
And we didn't give a damn
'Cause we were raised
To see life as a fun and take it if we can

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
DaveAitch (IP Logged)
11 February, 2019 11:03
Poynters, I'm sure as you say that "exhaustive" is Mail wording.

One is never quite sure even if "quoted" what the exact words of the consultant, or whoever, were. That said, if the text is correct he, the consultant, said "As far as we can see, there is a link." Then he goes on to say "We now need more research to further investigate that link." Unfortunately, and it's a problem of much research, he would seem to have made his mind up that there is a link and his future research will be biased by that, (What should be said is that there appears to be a link and further investigation is needed to see if that link does actually exist.)

Of course, it is advantageous to link to wealthy sports. Linking it to "down and outs" is less likely to help your funding. Also, I find it strange that amateur sports seem to have been dismissed. I believe that is further proof that future research is going to struggle to be unbiased.

(As an aside, people who are 'famous' are always more widely reported than the 'also-rans'. Don Revie and David Niven were the first high profile people in the British news with MND. The first US high profile sportsman was Lou Gehrig, who was a baseball player in the 1930s. In the US, ALS is known as Gehrig's disease.)

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
ageinghoody (IP Logged)
11 February, 2019 11:26
There's a cautionary line well down the article which I believe warrants attention.

" There may be other factors. A certain body mass index or muscularity, which makes people more likely to play top level sports of this kind. We don't have that detail, but no one has done this kind of investigation ... "

In other words let's not fall into the classic trap of inferring causation from correlation, and lose sight of the possibility of other factors, such as that suggested above, which may be responsible.

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
philthefluter (IP Logged)
11 February, 2019 18:18
In the USA, extensive studies have shown that you have TWICE the risk of developing MND (or ALS as they call it) if you have served in the military. Not necessarily in the front line or in a war zone, but just having served in the military. No-one has come up with a plausible explanation.

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
H's D (IP Logged)
14 February, 2019 10:00
It's often called "The athlete's curse" indicating a wider association so why not athleticism itself or the other things that go hand in hand with it? e.g. repeated pushing of the body to it's physical and mental limits in a individuals with a low BMI. The single largest component of the CNS and PNS is lipid. Mobilization of vital fat reserves occurs with severe exhaustion. That's perfectly plausible.
Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD have all been linked with demonstrably lower levels of some Essential Fatty Acids in the brains of many sufferers. Often in association with dietary and/or genetic factors.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 14/02/2019 10:08 by H's D.

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
DaveAitch (IP Logged)
14 February, 2019 18:21
Nice theory, H's D, but according to J.S. O'Brien and E.L. Sampson in the journal of lipid research the figures are as follows: myelin 78-81% lipids, grey matter 36-49% and white matter 49-66%. MND, ALS, or whatever you want to call it, has essentially been described as a disease of the grey matter which has the lowest percentage of lipids. If the mechanism were as you suggest on might expect Muliple Sclerosis to be signigicantly more prevalent in athletes, as it is a demyelinating disorder.

I should add too that the sample taken so far isn't that large (without rechecking) I think it says 16 projects from 8 different centres. It could be that some of those centres accept a higher percentage of sports people than other clinics, so one would expect a difference in the percentage rates.

It's true, also, that some researchers have claimed that exercise is actually beneficial to MS sufferers.

There is something an assumption that MND is one disease with a cause. It may well prove to be several different diseases each with its own cause. All I can say is that of all the people I've known, or known of, who have succumbed to MND only one could really be described as 'athletic'. He played local football to a reasonable level, but would be one of those that the report claims wasn't playing at a high enough level to be affected.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 14/02/2019 18:32 by DaveAitch.

Re: Motor Neuron Disease
H's D (IP Logged)
14 February, 2019 21:17
False logic Dave. The largest single constituent of all nervous tissue is lipid. That doesn't imply it's over 50 % , nor is mobilization of lipid within nervous tissue likely to be equal or proportionate. each tissue may be affected differently. MND is thought to have a complex complex aetiology with around 6 triggers thought to present to tip an individual over the edge into clinical disease (based on mathematical models). It's therefore multi-factorial, probably with a subtle genetic susceptibility involved. That is certainly the case with Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease. The presence of an abnormal prion protein is thought to be affecting phospho lipid integrity.
Athletes and soldiers both push themselves to physical and mental limits and tend not to be obese. MND is negatively correlated with sedentary, somewhat overweight individuals!
The report merely indicates a professional level of sport is strongly correlated, a lower level may still be associated, just less so.

In MND abnormal accumulations of proteins and their waste products occurs and affect the ability of glial cells to create and maintain myelin sheaths. Myelin is normally rich in lipid. So a shortage of HDL may be contributory to this failure if nutrient supply becomes significant. It doesn't necessarily cause it, just contributes to it's progression. The same may be true of Dislexia when clinical symptoms often improve after supplementation with fish oils or animal fats, (especially in Eskimos. Many of whom cannot convert omega 3 to omega 5 fatty acids).
Of course it could just as easily be protein metabolism involved in MND: soldiers and athletes have a few dietary factors and activities in common. More than the average joe anyway... It's just a question of identifying which ones are significant.

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