By Rachel Champeau – FINDINGS: In an early study, UCLA researchers found that the immune cells of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, may play a role in damaging the neurons in the spinal cord. ALS is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement.
UCLA RESEARCH ALERT
Specifically, the team found that inflammation instigated by the immune system in ALS can trigger macrophages — cells responsible for gobbling up waste products in the brain and body — to also ingest healthy neurons. During the inflammation process, motor neurons, whether healthy or not, are marked for clean-up by the macrophages.
In addition, the team found that a lipid mediator called resolvin D1, which is made in the body from the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, was able to “turn off