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New ALS gene mutation discovered
September 21st, 2011
12:01 PM ET

New ALS gene mutation discovered

Researchers have identified a genetic abnormality which they believe to be the most common cause of  two devastating neurological diseases and could provide future clues to treatment.  Two new studies, published online in the journal Neuron, found that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig's disease and frontotemporal dementia or FTD that run in families are caused in many cases by a mutation on a single gene on chromosome number 9.  This mutation causes a short DNA sequence to repeat over and over, much more frequently than in healthy people.  The ALS Association, which funded both studies, calls the identification of this genetic mutation "a major milestone in ALS research."

According to the data, in healthy individuals the DNA sequence repeats 2 to 23 times. In 23% of familial ALS patients and 12% of familial FTD patients the sequence repeated 700-1,600 times.

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September 21st, 2011
10:37 AM ET

What's the difference in diabetes?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Question from Steve from San Bruno, California:

What's the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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