Bonnie Walsh has served the ALS Association of Texas in different roles since March 2003. She currently serves as the Regional Development Manager for the Southwest Region of the state, managing two Walks to Defeat ALS and Battle ALS with Flowers, as well as other development activities. Read her story about her time with the Chapter and how it’s affected her life – both professionally and personally.
$1 Million Grant from Ice Bucket Challenge Helped Spur Discovery
Today, researchers from Project MinE announced that they have identified a new gene NEK1 that ranks among the most common genes that contribute to ALS. The study revealed an association between mutations in the gene and ALS. The discovery of NEK1 gives scientists an exciting new target for drug development.
Approximately 10 percent of ALS cases are familial, meaning genes are inherited from a family member. The other 90 percent of ALS cases are sporadic, or without a family history. The NEK1 gene is present in approximately 3 percent of all ALS cases.
Guest post by Trece Porrata, a patient with ALS
My husband was challenged to do the Ice Bucket Challenge last year when we were visiting friends in Port Aransas with our kids. As he was filling the bucket with ice, he jokingly asked me, “Wait, what am I doing this for?” I replied, “ALS, silly!” realizing that I didn’t actually know what it was.
Quickly, I went into the house to do some research about ALS. I ended up on the ALS Association of Texas website, reading through ALS symptoms. As I went down the list — muscle weakness, fine motor control issues — I noticed that I had been experiencing some of those same symptoms lately. But I didn’t think much of it at the time — after all, ALS is a man’s disease, right? And we had an Ice Bucket Challenge to complete. I went back outside to tell my husband what ALS was, and moments later I was laughing at his reaction to the freezing water, handing them towels and forgetting all about my symptoms.
My name is Ernie Worth. I am a 38-year-old husband, a father of three, and an ALS patient.
For months leading up to my diagnosis last fall, I had been experiencing speech difficulties. For me, this was very strange, as I have always enjoyed giving presentations, public speaking, and the like. It started out subtly, and gradually got worse as time went by. I was also rapidly losing weight, and since I have always been very physically fit and health-conscious, the physical change was quite obvious and disturbing.