Is ALS caused by a virus?

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Feb 1, 2008
My question is specially for those who have it: before your ever first symptom of ALS, have you ever met and interacted (drinking from the same glass, eat with same forks, used the same toilet, kissed, etc) with a person having ALS in a way that, if this was caused by a virus or another similar distructive organism (virus, retrovirus, germ, bacteria, microb, bacil, etc), it were possible for it to be transmitted to you?
And also, after you started having your first symptoms, did any person that you interacted with, started having similar symptoms some time after that?
It may be in years before or after. I am wondering about a slow action virus, and also at a virus that is easily transmitted, like saliva for example, a virus that some people only carry and never have anything, and others become victims of it.
This is a possibility I have in mind, I wonder, and want to know your experiences and opinions on that. I know that science didn't confiermed anything on that, but also read an article about a retrovirus.
Thank you,
I haven't been diagnosed with ALS and probably don't have it.

There are theories that a virus could be one of the causes of ALS, but right now, that is only theory. There are also another zillion theories as to its cause. But one theory that is not out there, is for someone to "transmit" it to another person via having a cold or flu virus. So if you have a friend that has ALS and that person had a some type of viral infection, you were in absolutely no danger of getting ALS. That's not the way viral causes of ailments occurs.
Frst of all If als is caused by a virus it would not be rare. People would be giving it to others Some doctors think exposure to toxics ,because you see It with fireman ,vets, healthcare workers chemical workers and now they are saying trauma like a fall or car accident can cause it another theory is predisposal .and since it can be inherited that may be true. No one can really know because the part of the brain effect is so hard to study. Thats why more of us should have living will allowing a brain autopys to try and help find a cure for this rotten disease keep praying Pat
I read the article about the retrovirus too, I hope they have some thing there, it would be great to get some answers. Your question seemed to imply could it be contagious?
My personal opinion would be no, simple because spouses don't get it and gosh, they kiss and swap spit! LOL! But if it is a virus, some folks could be more susceptible to the virus for genetic reason, only my thoughts.:)
My granddad died of this disease at the age of 63. My grandmother was younger than him, and then continued to live a very healthy life well into her 90's.
In a way I was thinking at the same thing as Northengirl. A slow action virus, that is activated only in some people, who knows on what criteria, and that other people only carry it. Well, I am not a researcher, unfortunately, and I hope modern technology could allow them to progress in their researches.
I only have some unpleasant symptoms, I feared that, but doctors are telling me that it is impossible to be, of course I try to think that they are smart and know what they say, specially when saying that I have to take calcium and magnesium...and than feel fresh again.... but being so scared about it, and having had someone in my environment that could have had it if it was a virus, and I could have taken it, if it is transmitted by saliva, I read a lot of things, and my very personal and profane opinion, in medecine of course, is that only a virus or other kind of pathogen agent can destroy in this way the humain body. But again, my opinion is not scientific, and I prefer to put it as a part of a debate. For example, the fact that it was largely spred in some islands, never made me think at a toxic element or don't know what, but at a isolated environment, where for example at least one person carrying a virus and having many partners could have spread it...
Again, it is only a debate.
Don't want to rain on your parade/ debate but I have seen no research into your theory which would lead me to think it's a pointless debate. I'm pretty sure someone would have thought of this before you and checked. They must be checking something with all the blood they've taken from me and others.
My that this is lying dormant in the gene pool, and under the right circumstances, it is turned on like a switch.

I am diagnosed 'neuromuscular disease' with myopathy showing on one biopsy and denervation on another biopsy, with muscle atrophy in both calves and at my wrists. subsequent EMG showing denervation in another leg.

Because a family member died of this disease, I feel that what I have may some way be related.
Hi Lovelily,
It could be smth like that but there are a lot of people that have no one in their families that ever had that disease,,,,so, that's why I was rather wondering about a virus, that is activated only in some people, I don't know on what criteria, maybe a fragile nervous system, but I am just wondering.
Realistically, looking for a cause at this point is like finding a needle in a haystack the size of North America. I'd be happy if they could simple localize the mechanism of neuron death. Currently there are several theories but no proofs. It could be:
  1. Excitotoxicity due to glutamate
  2. Oxidative stress
  3. Damage to glial cells (astrocytes)
  4. Misfolded protiens
If they can find out which of those mechanisms or combination of mechanisms are causing neuron death then we can find a treatment. Once we find a treatment then two things happen. First the proverbial haystack just got a lot smaller and secondly it gives researchers and patients much needed time.

Could it be a virus? Sure. It could also be exposure to pesticides or lack of vitamins or genetics or mutations caused by the extra UV radiation coming to Earth through the depleted ozone layer or lyme disease or exposure to lead vapors. The list goes on and on.
I too have been exploring the virus theory. My mother who was barely sick a day in her life ended up getting ALS after years of taking care of my father. Oddly, my father died a year ago with a strange virus that infected his body. There is no history in my family of ALS or other neurological disease.
Did your father had als too, or how was that virus manifestating? what were the symptoms?
The more I read and think about it crosses my mind that there could be various forms of als, in fact the same effect: sclerosis and muscles atrofia, but different causes, like one of them being a virus. Maybe that's why the sysmpoms are so various, and no one manages to find the causes. Like more possible causes that lead to the same effect.
In my opinion, only a virus can damage the human body that way. but than I wonder why scientist are not able to identify it if it is a virus?
I know someone in high school who was diagnosed about 4 years ago. Just a few months ago, a pretty close friend of his in high school (both living in different parts of the country now) was also diagnosed with ALS. I suspect it was something they were both exposed to at one time. Doesn't anyone think that is odd? This is a somewhat rare disease - how could 2 friends from high school both be diagnosed within a 4 year period? Thoughts anyone?
Myself and another firefighter from the same Dept. with ALS. could be coincidence or the toxins. Who knows?

My husband was diagnosed in 06 and we learned within the past year a school mate also has ALS. They were both athletes in the same sport.

Yes...who knows?
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