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Antioxidant could slow progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease

An antioxidant discovered more than a dozen years ago may some day be able to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a devastating neurodegenerative disease that is usually fatal within 5 years of diagnosis and currently has no cure.

Researchers at the Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay found that the antioxidant MitoQ prolonged the lifespan and improved the health of mice suffering from an animal form of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS gradually degrades motor neurons in the brain, causing the loss of major motor functions, including walking, speaking, swallowing and breathing. There is no cure for ALS and, so far, only one FDA-approved drug exists–riluzole, which extends the lifespans of patients by an average of only three months.

MitoQ has already been tested for safety in a variety of clinical human trials since it was created, and now researchers at The Center of Free Radical and Biomedical Research at the Universidad de la Republica are evaluating the possibility of conducting clinical human trials using MitoQ to treat ALS patients.