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(ALS, Charcot's disease or Lou Gehrig's disease)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord which means it is a form of motor neurone disease that involves the death of neurones.

A virus known as HERV-K has been present in human DNA for millions of years. Scientific research has shown that it may be coming back to life and fatally destroying nerve cells. The virus incorporated itself into the human genome between two and five million years ago and has remained there dormant ever since. It is a human endogenous retrovirus  the same as the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS and has injected its own genetic material into human cells.

Because the virus becomes part of the DNA, they are passed down from generation to generation in the same way as genes for hair colour or height. Experts estimate that these viruses make up as much as eight percent of the human genome.

Usually HERV-K remains dormant but it has been blamed for causing some types of cancer and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and is suspected being involved in the development of breast cancer.

Some patients with HIV have a syndrome that resembles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which gradually paralyses and kill patients as their nerve cells die but when they are treated with anti-HIV drugs, they often  recover. Some patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also show evidence of HERV-K retrovirus activity in their blood. The virus appears in the cortical and spinal neurons of these ALS patients.

What exactly is activating this virus has not yet been established  however contamination with chemicals such as formaldehyde may raise the risk of developing ALS as can physical trauma.

It is not yet possible to eliminate HERV-K from the genome as it has been present since before humans became human and there is may be 90 copies of it in the human genome.

Most copies of the virus are so mutated that they cannot be activated, but it has been found in tumours and in some people with schizophrenia. It moves around within the genetic code by cutting and splicing itself and no present living virus today looks quite like it however it was as common, millions of years ago, as the HIV and herpes virus is today.

Many of the natural foods and nutrients listed in the Neurological disorders section can have beneficial effects for sufferers of this condition though there is no known cure as yet.

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