NEW THEORY OF ALS LEADS TO NEW THERAPIES
According to a new theory of the cause of ALS new therapies now can be used, evaluated and either denounced or heralded as a new breakthrough. For too many years the same old story has been repeated over and over again that the cause of ALS is unknown and that the fate of these unfortunates is sealed. The idea that ALS is “perhaps” due to “oxidative stress”, misfolded SOD (superoxide dismutase), genetics, accumulation of insoluble aggregates within the spinal cord, excess spinal cord glutamate, etc., has not resulted in any therapy other than Rilutek (the only FDA approved drug for ALS) that has any effect whatsoever on the course or final outcome.
This new theory is based on some very simple concepts that anyone can understand and yet apparently no other doctor has ever conceived of until Dr. David Steenblock, DO advanced it back in 2012 in a video posted on youtube. Here is the link. The concept is based on a number of observations over the course of a medical career beginning in 1972 with the evaluation of a number of different ALS patients and their responses to a variety of therapies as well as a fairly comprehensive review of medical research literature.
DR DAVID STEENBLOCK’S NEW CONCEPT OF THE CAUSE OF ALS
This concept refers to the spontaneous version of ALS which here-to-for has had no good explanation. ALS in general begins fairly suddenly with a weakness of in most cases of one arm or hand rather than a symmetrical gradual onset of all limbs. If this condition were to be due to genetics or from some type of poison or toxin such as coming from the diet from an outside source the onset if sudden would involve all extremities and would come on either suddenly or gradually depending on the dose of the ingested poison.
More than 80% of spontaneous ALS suffer from some type of cervical (neck) spinal problem which in most cases involves a compression of the spinal nerve that leads to the arm or hand that weakens first and is what is noted by the patient initially.
This spinal nerve injury is the primary injury that leads to ALS.
By itself though this type of injury occurs fairly commonly and does not lead to the symptoms of ALS. So there is more to the story but the concept that a spinal nerve is injured is basic for understanding the cause of the condition. How does this spinal nerve injury create the disease? It turns out that when a spinal nerve is damaged there are a number of inflammatory molecules generated at the injury site. Because of the injury the spinal nerve loses its BLOOD-SPINAL CORD FLUID BARRIER. This break in the barrier between the spinal cord and its fluids and the blood allows a variety of these toxic inflammatory molecules (TNF-alpha, gamma interferon, etc.) to enter into the cord. These by themselves can initiate irritative changes in the cord which can result in the generalized fasciculations that ALS patients can experience when localized weakness is only present in one extremity. As if this damage is not enough there is another problem that occurs in virtually everyone with ALS and has to this date not been and continues to not be recognized by the medical profession.
This problem is of a chronic inflammatory condition within the gastro-intestinal tract.
This chronic inflammation has been missed by all doctors since it generally does not cause symptoms! If you don’t complain of a “stomach ache” then you can’t have a problem!
ALS begins in the GIT and this chronic long standing inflammatory condition could have been present for years prior to the onset of the disease that occurs due to some new spinal nerve injury. The cause of this inflammation is multifactorial which means that in most cases there are a number of factors that are responsible. Often, ALS patients suffer from a “subclinical” heavy metal toxicity especially of mercury or lead. These heavy metals have a long history of controversy in the medical profession and still do in this regard. That heavy metals contribute to “oxidative stress” in the body is without question. In ALS patients, these metals destroy glutathione and other detoxifying substances that the body uses to defend itself from toxins from the food we eat or from the metabolites from the body’s use of this food to make energy.
Other factors that cause intestinal damage include a variety of bacteria, yeast and components of the diet. These agents produce a certain type of “free radical” at the mucosal surface of the GIT called a “superoxide” molecule which is now known to be the primary cause of GIT irritation from these different organisms. This superoxide damages the inner lining of the bowel which opens the wall up so that the poisons normally present within the intestine are able to pass into the wall. Once inside of the wall of the intestine a certain type of blood cell moves in and tries to inactivate these superoxide toxic molecules by producing and then releasing SUPEROXIDE DISMUTASE. This is the MONOCYTE> The intestinal wall at the site of this injury process is extremely complicated in regard to the physiology and biochemical reactions that are occurring and in part this reactions are directed by the person’s genetic makeup. The genetic makeup of the person may well be another contributing factor but at this time these factors have not been evaluated well. What we do know is that the cells that try to cleanup this inflammation are phagocytic cells (monocytes) that engulf and try to destroy the toxins that are entering into the bowel’s walls.
In this attempt they fill themselves with toxic substances such as endotoxins which are the outer cell walls of gram negative bacteria, alpha techoic acid which is derived from gram positive bacteria and a variety of substances from the cell walls of yeast such as chitin and mannans. That these substances are involved with the development of ALS is proven by the fact that endotoxins have been found to be present in higher quantities in the blood of ALS patients. Another significant fact is that the ALS patients monocytes have more of a chitin digesting enzyme (chitin is part of the invading form of yeast) called chitotriosidase than any other enzyme in their cell bodies (250 times normal cells content).
In addition, there are many antibodies present in the blood of these patients that are reactive to yeast of all types and the components of yeast cell walls. Finally occasionally when doing endotoxin testing on the Cerebrospinal fluid from ALS patients we have found endotoxins in the fluid which demonstrates without a doubt that
INTESTINAL POISONS ENTER INTO THE SPINAL CORD AND CAUSE ALS!
Most often this GIT inflammatory condition affects the terminal end of the ileum (cecum) and mimics to some degree an autoimmune condition called Crohn’s disease. If your doctor does the blood tests for Crohn’s disease or “allergy” tests for yeast or components of yeast these are often positive. These tests include such tests as a “prognostic Crohn’s disease panel, antibodies to Sacchoramyces, and Candida. Other tests that can demonstrate this GIT (gastrointestinal tract) inflammation include a special urine test (quantitative urine organic acid test) and a CDSA (comprehensive digestive stool analysis). Other even more accurate tests for the demonstration of GIT problems is done at a GIT specialty clinic or hospital.
An upper and lower endoscopy is done by a Physician specializing in gastroenterology. This doctor does not only a visual examination but does biopsies of the ileum and other parts by using normal histology, histochemistry, flow cytometry and electron microscopy methods. These tests are the most accurate for demonstrating this chronic inflammatory condition.
The treatment of this inflammatory condition is the most difficult since the offending organisms must be Identified and sensitivity tests run and then treated accordingly. However even with this scientific method, often the organisms do not respond and continue to grow in these patients. In part this may be due to the weakness of the immune system that results from the heavy metal poisoning and the toxic effect of the intestinal toxins on the white blood cells and in part due to the genetic weaknesses that are present in these patients.
New therapies that are being used by Dr Steenblock for treatment of ALS include:
Stem cells into the spinal nerve damaged areas- this has proven the most effective in terms of getting almost immediate improvements in a patient’s symptoms. It is these improvements that confirm that this theory has great merit.
Intravenous and direct injection of stem cells into the CSF- has produced long lasting improvements
Laser treatments of the spinal nerve
Blood purification and removal of toxin containing monocytes
Hyperbaric oxygen for healing the hypoxic spine and small bowel
External counter pulsation for increasing VEGF
Pulsed electromagnetic therapy for healing the spine
Intravenous chelation to remove heavy metals
Probiotics, antifungals, antibacterials