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Early ALS detection through teeth

Growth rings as biomarkers

Teeth can indicate all kinds of diseases, but can they also predict a nervous disease such as ALS? American researchers have found a method for recognizing the neural disease amythrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) long before it breaks out on the basis of the teeth.


Due to muscle weakness and muscle breakdown, many ALS patients need a wheelchair in the course of their illness. © Peter Atkins - stock.adobe.com


ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig Syndrome, usually occurs between the ages of 50 and 60 on. A possibility for early diagnosis was not yet known. Patients usually look at the occurrence of the Muscle weakness or wasting the first time to see a doctor. However, according to an American study, early ALS detection is possible. As Teeth play an important role here.

Teeth as a biomarker for ALS

A Environmental factor favoring ALS is the Exposure to metals. Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Michigan (USA) used the Growth rings of teeth now for the evaluation of the metal uptake. This method applies because of the Mineralization of the teeth and the associated capture of nutrients and metals circulating in the blood as reliable. In particular, the analysis of the growth rings between birth and the age of 15 delivered exciting results.

The researchers took a total of 36 ALS patients and their teeth in the examination. The average age of the patients was 63 and 89 percent suffered from the sporadic form of ALS. The control group consisted of 31 healthy people.

Significantly higher values

In the ALS patients, the researchers were able to determine from the growth rings that the patients had a significantly higher exposure to metals compared to the control group have. There were three time frames in which the uptake of metals differed (birth up to two years, seven to nine years, 13 to 15 years).

Chromium intake was highest at the age of 15, and manganese had the highest value at birth. The researchers found nickel to be strongest at the age of eight, and tin at the age of two. The results were between 46 and 82 percent higher than that of the control group. In an animal experiment with mice, the researchers achieved the same results. From these analyzes, the scientists concluded that one early and severe exposure to metals can lead to a later onset of ALS in patients.

New therapies thanks to ALS early detection?

The Prevalence for ALS is included annually three to eight per 100,000. This is when the disease occurs more common in men than women on. Through ALS there is a progressive and irreversible Damage and degeneration of the nerve cells responsible for muscle movement. As the disease progresses, the patient develops symptoms of paralysis and muscle weakness up to and including muscle wasting. Death mostly occurs through one Pneumonia due to paralyzed muscles a. Based on the study results on ALS early detection, a development of new therapy options is conceivable.

Source: Dhanada VS, Sajan D George, V. B Kartha, Santhosh Chidangil, Unnikrishnan VK, Hybrid LIBS-Raman-LIF systems for multi-modal spectroscopic applications: a topical review, Applied Spectroscopy Reviews, 10.1080 / 05704928.2020.1800486, (1 -29), (2020).