Can someone cause ALS?

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Jun 27, 2006
I am wondering how ALS starts? What are the different theories as to what causes it? I know that apparently doctors don't know what exactly causes it, but there must be some possibilities? I am also wondering if someone can cause someone to have ALS? I am worried because I feel like someone I know was inflicted with this disease by their spouse. Is there any possible ways someone can "poisson" someone with this disease? i know it is a gross idea, but I am worried.

There are poisons that can cause symptoms like ALS. Your idea is not so farfetched because I know of others who have been worried that someone did something to cause this type of illness. I hope your friend gets answers.
Supergirl - there are numerous theories that exposure to certain toxins can precipitate ALS in individuals predisposed to it. However, if you are going to try to kill someone, I'd say there are much more efficient ways of doing it!
It is impossible for someone to intentionally give another person ALS. There are factors that would cause neurological symptoms such as mercury poisoning but this does not mean it is ALS. No one knows the cause nor for that matter the mechanism by which ALS operates. There are multiple theories but none proven. For some quick info on causes read the "What causes ALS?" section on this page:

This is the thing that angers me the most. All the testing that is being done is on the SOD1 mouse model. The SOD1 gene mutation is only found in 20% of the familial ALS cases and familial ALS is only 5 - 10% of all the ALS cases. So within the U.S. there are 20,000 ALS patients of which we'll say 10% to error high are familial. That means that 2,000 of the patients have the potential for exhibiting the SOD1 gene mutation. The thing is only 20% of the do so now we're at 400. Now based on a trait exhibited by those 400 all drugs will be tested in a model that is similar to but not the same and based on those results we'll go for further trials.

Let's put that into perspective. I'm going to make a mouse for the computer. The majority of the world is right handed but I want to focus on the left handed population. No more specific, I want to focus on the left handed population with double jointed thumbs. Now out of that group I want the ones that have their index finger in a cast. So I'm developing a mouse for left handed people with double jointed thumbs and a cast on their index finger. The problem is the only tester I have in house has a case on his middle finger but it'll have to do. So I develop a bunch of mice but our in house tester doesn't like them but the ones he likes the public doesn't. HMMM, wonder why.

Sorry, was my turn to vent a bit. The point is this, no one knows the cause. If they say they do they're lying. Once you know the cause you can follow the progression and at that point you can find, test and prove ways to slow, stop or reverse the progress. The are entire organizations out there doing educated "shotgun" testing, meaning they test all sorts of things hoping they have an effect. If they had a clue to the cause they wouldn't waste all that time and money going from creatine to antibiotics to growth hormones, etc.

**Steps down off of soapbox and walks away**
Jeff - you are so funny and such an asset to this forum! Do you think the reason they do so much work with the SOD1 gene is because it is just easier for them to work with because of its genetics. When I read the research it just sounds like it is easier for them to get answers from the familial type of ALS and that's why so much is going in that direction. Hopefully if they get answers from that it will help with non-familial als. And I agree, there are so many different als, that's why everyone's story is different. Look on this forum, we have MTPockets with a CK of 3000, very unlikely for als, others with no elevation, some with positive EMG's, others know the list!
They use the SOD1 mouse model because at this point its all they have. I haven't read of any other commonalities they've found. Don't get me wrong I appreciate the work they are doing and understand why they have to use the SOD1 mouse model but it's frustrating at the same time. Hopefully, we'll get lucky. What I've read on Arimoclomol shows at least some promise so we'll see what happens.
My mother agrees...

My mother believes my husband made me suscepible to something--she was shocked at ALS diagnosed. Anyway she believes his treatment of me caused thid. I'm sure that's a mother's grief, however, I also believe my ability to handle the emotional & mental stress may be a factor.
Your husbands treatment of you may influence how you handle this but there is no possible way on earth he gave you this.
I don't know Jennilee, but since we don't know the cause of als I don't see why extreme stress couldn't be one of the reasons for it. I went through a period where I was being stalked, in fight or flight mode everyday. As soon as it was over I became ill. Your mom may have a point (my mom has the same thoughts for me).

So glad to hear from you.
When you research the "possible causes" i think everyone would be susceptible! Most people have had amalgam fillings, most people are exposed to environmental toxins, most people are under extreme stress, and most people have illness's from different viruses.... And most people have all of these at once, like myself! There has to be a correlation between these occurrences AND something else that would make it more clear. Scientist's should do a study of people in the world that have ALS and what kinds of foods they ate and environment toxins and where they lived and where there ancestors came from. Maybe design a computer program that could find correlations, each country could enter all info about their ALS patient and it would go into a database that every country could share. I truly think it is like a cancer, certain cancers are going to show up in people that have had a similar gene pool or environment. Then when all those "triggers" come into play the (cancer) motor neuron starts to die, thus the beginning of ALS. My ancestors come from France, they then immigrated to Canada, then the U.S.A. I live in the south now, but grew up an hour away from Ottawa. It was a French Neurologist who discovered ALS, they call it Maladie De Charcot. Can you tell i really want to find out how this is caused so it can be cured!?
I feel better knowing everyone else is just as frustrated as me. Yet, it doesn't make me feel better. I feel helpless since I cannot research all this stuff myself. I don't know anything about science! This makes me want to quit my university degree in Education and go into science.

I think my mom got ALS from Lipitor. She does too. If Lipitor did cause my mom's ALS, I will feel completely depressed, weak and overwhelmed.

I want to be an activist about this - nothing is happening with this stupid drug company...heaps of people who are on Lipitor are getting ALS and no one is seeing the correlation (well...I can't say that completely since I have done little research in the grand scheme of research)!

I want to petition to someone stronger and more powerful to force this Lipitor drug to be tested! I cannot do this myself. I feel like people with ALS and friends and family can do very little because they are so busy and overwhelmed with TAKING CARE of themselves/ their family members. No one has time to fight the government or big businesses. I feel so overwhelmed - I am a university student, I work part time and I am helping take care of my mom. When do I have time to write a wonderful essay with all my research on the causes of ALS? This is why nothing is happening, everyone touched by ALS is worn out and sad.

sorry this is so negative....I am venting, but I will try to do my best at fighting this disease still. But I am so tired....
Re: Lipitor

Hi all,

I sure hope your wrong about Lipitor, I have been taking it for years. This is very scary, if I have a 50/50 chance of ALS because my Mom Had it and my sister then. As I mentioned in my previous posts I take a lot a meds. Actually in already in a class action law suit over Vioxx. I had a blockage in my neck which caused TIA. These drug companies are too much. I checked all the meds I take and it seems the side effects are worse than your problems. Also re familial ALS I have a previous post about our family history being studied at Mc Gill in Montreal. This is my biggest dream to find a cure for this horrible disease. After watching my mom waste away and then my sister being dzs 3 months later is too much. This post is combining comments about a lot of the different posts that I read but I hope someone will benefit. My mother started with her legs, she fell so many time like a tree. Her face was constantly cut and bruised. However, Roberta, my sister started with Bulbar. We first thought Roberta had a stroke because of the stress we were going thru because my Mom was on life support. One thing I noticed before she was dzs is she had a terrible cold and bad larengitis that seemed to last forever. What angers me is the lack of awareness. The only public awareness is when someone wants to fight for their right to die. The only other time was the Toronto Sun Journalist who had ALS. He wrote a series of articles in the Sunday Sun. I think it was a 5 part series. It was excellent, very well put together about the progression of the disease. Well enough for now. Norma
Hi Supergirl, Maybe I can help. Maybe the lawfirm that is handling the class action for Vioxx can help. Do you want the website? Let me know. I hear you, been there and I still have some fight left.
Hang in there, your Mom is lucky to have you.
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