ALS and Science- Itzayana R.

In chapter three from the book Rigor Mortis, Richard Harris begins to talk about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS) which is a deadly disease. I used to see the ALS bucket challenge all over social media a little while ago but I did not really know

Normal nerve cell/muscle & ALS nerve cell/muscle

what it was. I did some research on the disease and I found this article explaining about ALS. I learned that ALS is when the upper motor neurons and the lower motor neurons degenerate in your body and they stop sending messages to the muscles. Since they are not functioning anymore, the muscles weaken, they start to twitch, and they waste away. After time, the brain will lose the ability to have control of voluntary movements. “There’s no question the disease is a tough one to counteract. Almost everything scientists have tried for ALS has failed”(Page 55). When I read this I was not really surprised about what Murphy had said because I had already learned that in chapter one about the million of experiments that had failed. Also, because he points out that ALS is really difficult to manage and research and it is true because in the article it says how scientists still do not know what causes ALS but they do know that it has something to do with maybe genetics and environmental factors.



Richard Harris explains how the researchers there decided to look at the original studies of ALS to see what they could learn. They found many of the animal studies were defective. I would have definitely done that differently. As Richard Harris explained, I would use many more mice and done the experiment more carefully without skipping anything. Sean Scott reran the tests with the right amount of mice but the drugs did not work on the animals so there goes that. It was interesting how the ALS trait in the gen


etically modified mice can change from one generation to the other. Scientists really have to think about that and make sure the genetics of every animal have to be identical so they can succeed in their experiments and studies instead of having different genetics which leads to a flawed experiment. Richard Harris had said that other scientists had often overlooked those pitfalls which is why their experiments did not go as they might have wanted.


“It’s not fair to blame scientists entirely for this failure. The National Institutes of Health(NIH) paid for much of this research, and funding was stretched so thin that

Scientist shrugging

scientists said they didn’t get as much as they needed to do their studies” (page 57). When I read this I stopped and thought about it for a little bit. From my last post about chapter one, I kept saying how it was the scientists whole fault for not doing their science and doing sloppy science right. Now that I think about it, maybe it is because they do not have enough money to do the whole thing right and it is really expensive, they sometimes need to cut edges and make difficult decisions which might lead to sloppy science to get something out of it. NIH should have thought of that first instead of wasting money on human trials with drugs that in the end all failed and did not work.


2 thoughts on “ALS and Science- Itzayana R.

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  1. When I was younger and found out that scientists did experiments on mice I always thought they would get different results because each mice could be different. I thought about it but never really asked anyone, and after I read your blog post about the mice, I was correct about the different mice could lead to a flawed results. You did a good job in explaining your knowledge about chapter three and I like how you added your own thoughts and ideas to the blog post. How would you done research and your experiments differently without enough money? – Leslie O.

  2. Right away, I liked the featured image you chose because I didn’t know much about ALS, so I appreciated how straight-forward and helpful this was. I agree with your ending thoughts about how you initially thought it was a scientist’s fault for having sloppy results, and I liked your reflection on that. Your blog post touches on several important changes that need to happen in scientific research studies and I like your thought-out ideas on how to move forward. -Fatima R.

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