I found this 2005 report, Amyotrophic Lateral SclerosisA report on the state of research into the cause, cure, and prevention of ALS, and what jumps off the pages for me are:
- ALS is increasing in western societies, in particular in women and in younger age brackets.
- There have been a couple places identified where the incidence of ALS is 50 to 100 times the norm, which is Guam and the Kii peninsula in Japan. In Guam there has been a steady decline in the rate of ALS making researchers believe that is may be related to traditional practices.
- There are incidents of married couples both getting ALS, which is highly improbable.
- Increases were most dramatic in Canada and the US, especially between 1979 and 1997, and follow-up show it was still increasing in the year 2000.
- A small number of studies show detectable evidence of viruses in the spinal cord of some ALS patients.
Although this cycad is found all over the Western Pacific, from Japan to Australia, people eat its fruit only in certain areas, including the islands of Guam and Rota. The plant is also used in traditional medicine in the Kii Peninsula of Japan, and the Jaya region of New Guinea. It is mainly in these regions that a devastating neurological disease, known as Guam disease, is found. It resembles Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, as well as a disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The brain and spinal cord degenerate, leading to dementia, paralysis and death.
The barrier function becomes compromised, so that bacteria, viruses, undigested food particles and toxic waste products can leak from the inside of your intestines through the damaged digestive lining into your bloodstream, where they're transported throughout your body and can trigger your immune system to react. The end result is inflammation in various parts of your body, leading to a wide variety of symptoms like bloating, cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, flushing, achy joints, headache and rashes.
In the absence of a clear understanding of the genetic or viral origin of sporadic ALS Epidemiology of ALS (or the possible interaction of genetic susceptibility, viral infection, and exogenous factors in bringing about the disease),