Attention all recently diagnosed PALS

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Moderator emeritus
Jun 20, 2005
My neurologist Dr. Strong has told me that he and his colleaques around the world have noticed a surge in ALS cases.

There could be a myriad of reasons for this - including better diagnostic tests - but it could also mean there is something going on.

Now it appears to me that there a number of fairly young males who have recently joined this site who were diagnosed around last summer. Any young femals PALS out there who are recently diagnosed?

Now I know that a lot of older PALS are probably less inclined to use the internet - so that may be why we don't hear from them.

OK - so all of you recently diagnosed younger males - what's up? What environmental factors have you been exposed to?

What do you do that different than those around you? Maybe there are some common elements....

For me:

I've eaten an apple a day for my life - pesticides?

I'm an avid cyclist - car exhaust?

I swam a lot - chlorine?

I have always had a dog

I grew up in big city

A few months before my diagnosed I slipped and banged the side of my head and nearly had a concussion - trauma?

I burn easily

I'll keep thinking.

Obviously there are millions who do the same things I do - but maybe PALS have less tolerance to some environmental factors - so let's put are heads together to see if there are any links...
I'm a middle aged male (48 at symtom onset) but your ideas of PALS being more susceptible to some environmental shock that triggers the process resonates with me. Probably coincidence, but similarily to you, a few months before the first symptom I nearly broke my neck in a diviing accident and wore a neck brace for sometime. I did quite a bit of damage but none too serious UNLESS it triggered my ALS. I have often wondered about it.
My symptoms seemed to start after I quit smoking.I drank diet coke on a daily basis and chewed sugar-free gum alot when I quite smoking.Aspartame?1ST it was vertigo,then leg cramps,stiff neck[bad enough to take time off work] and loss of strength in my right arm.A couple of years earlier though, I fell off my bicycle and broke my jaw.Head injuries?Hmmmmmmm
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The topic of head trauma came up a while back. It was very interesting to find how many people had hit their heads a good one before they ever showed any ALS symptoms. My dad is one of those. He fell off a ladder and was unconscious for a short amount of time. We don't really know how long he blacked out because he was by himself, but he thought it wasn't very long at all (a few seconds maybe). Anyways, the whole "accident" happened probably 6-12 months before he noticed his speech going. INTERESTING!
I did not have head trauma.

My environmental factors: I live in a big city, Los Angeles (smog?) I own a dog. My eating habits were very bad for many years- fast food, frozen dinners, diet cokes, lots of sweets (aspartame? msg?). I also had a severe depressive episode about a year or so before my symptoms started, and wonder if this was related to upper motor neuron damage at an early stage.
Well if you want to explore that avenue. I had toxic exposure for 33 years as a firefighter. Diesel fumes: Yup. Did Fire and Flood restorationes for 17 years. Don't drink pop or sodas as they are called in the US and never diet drinks. Banged my head on pool bottom at about 25. No LOC but in 1977 fell on the ice and had 5-10 min. Loss Of Consciousness and concussion. Quit smoking long long time ago. Wasn't that stressful. Or so I didn't think at the time. Who the heck knows but you have opened a good avenue of thought Richard.
Richard,as for me I am a store Mgr for a supermarket and I check on produce deliverys on a daily basis and the only way to check quality is by trying the product.I have not only apples but also grapes,all types of berries,and melons everyday for the past6 yrs(you would assume your getting all your vitamins) most times we wash but somtimes just wipe on your shirt.As for smoking I quit 3.5 yrs ago and chewed gum like a horse everyday for 6months ( lots of aspertame).In 1999 was in mexico and hit my head in a pool and ripped the hide right off of my head! Was in landscaping in the u.s. till i was 19...then moved to T.O.Most all my family members are in landscaping no one with any neuro issues. Hope this helps

On the enviromental dad was a dairy farmer from his early teens until about 15 or 16 years ago. I know he was around all sorts of bugs and germs.
My former partner (35 years old)who has got als, has been exposed to pesticides which we sprayed inside the house several times, and has also been exposed to noumeros toxic substances. He likes to work with cars, motorcycles, opens up electrical devices and so on. I know this contains flame ratardants. Sorry for my bad language, I,m a norwegian.
I believe that it is the food we are eating. There are so many additives now in food it makes one wonder if this is what is wrong. It may effect some people more than others. Microwave cooking, quick meals, foods that are cooked you just heat them up, is it possible there is something to this?

I'll wade in on this too. I'd known my wife since we were 14 so I know that she was pretty careful about what she ate, drank and what went on around her. About 3 years before she was diagnosed, her classroom was cleared of asbestos. The process took nearly a month to accomplish, and the only barrier that was in place was some 6 mil plastic. Following this, she managed to survive 2 at fault, major auto wrecks (try paying $10K a year for insurance for awhile)... cause or result? Also had a pretty good apetite for good wine.... but I won't even consider that. The thing is that we were together for nearly 36 years... she was stricken and I haven't been... so where is the consistency?
I'm thinking that there may be some susceptability to environmental risk that we may or may not have... but that's why I donate money to people who have a better understanding of genetics and cell interactions than me... yes, those demon doctors who also push drugs on us! At the ALS clininc that we used, the neurologist took a lot of ancecdotal information. I'm sure that there is a central repository on information on all of this stuff. The more we share the faster the linkages will form and, with luck, the quicker the solution will form.

When they take a few day old chick and force feed it for 40 days and it becomes a 3 1/2 pound mature chicken then I think we are putting too many chemicals in our food.
Hey there,
We are all starting to sound like Jerry.
Maybe he is on to something.
Seriously, there has to be things out there that are really bad for us, the hard part is how do we find them and how do we avoid them and still live as full a life as possible?
Love and hugs, Leah
i think almost everyone in my family had some sort of traumatic injury before their symptoms! my dad was assaulted and suffered a head injury, 6 months later als, my grandmother fell over a gate, on and on. i know my cousin had high amounts of lead in his system. my brother played alot of hockey, i mean alot! so of course he's been banged around. not sure of the other family members but i do recall this discussion many years ago with my family thinking the same thing as you. so let's say it is a trauma or environment~
now what?

Henry played hockey all his life. At the amatuer level and semi pro. He took a lot of hits to the body. I cannot even beging to count the stitches, he broke his nose 4 times, wore a slapshot in his right eye in l996, and lost his sight for a few months in that eye. It was a bad injury. He also was a bricklayer builder that worked with mortar and dyes and antifreeze etc... Is it all related somehow? I would love to figure it out. It seems everyone has had some kind of bump on the head here except me! I am the only one that still has all my marbles ! ha......And, is Jerry really on to something? For the most part I think so. However, we could go on and on about that subject too. And, for as much as my old memory can remember we have beat that horse a few times too. Concrete answers would be so nice, will we ever get them is another story. Have a good night all.

Stay Strong, Carol
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