We all remember the ce bucket challenge that was so popular last year. Everybody did it, including some very famous public figures. It was fun and a nice way to show support for the people who suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neuron disease (MND).
ALS is not an easy disease to deal with and most people who develop it die within the first four years. About 10 percent of them can live up to ten years and they are regarded as the lucky ones. While at first they just feel a stiffness in their muscles, a few months later, as the neurons that control voluntary muscles start dying, their condition worsens.
In the later stages of the disease, the patient displays difficulty in speaking and swallowing and eventually in breathing, which can cause his or her death.
The causes for this disease are yet unknown. However, researchers working at Harvard School of Public Health have carried out a study that reveals there might be a link between formaldehyde and ALS.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Neurology and Psychiatry earlier this week concludes that the men who inhale formaldehyde fumes are three times more likely to develop ALS later in life. The researchers also stated that there is a higher chance for men working in funeral homes to be exposed to the substance.
In order to get to such a conclusion, the team analyzed the data of 1.5 million people from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study.
However, even if they found a connection between men who are exposed to formaldehyde and ALS, they also stated that more research needs to be carried out before giving a verdict, because there is a very small percentage of people working in the presence of formaldehyde and the women could not be included in the study because there was no record of them working with the substance.
The research is also quite limited because there were only 2 deaths that could be connected to the disease.
This might also be due to the fact that ALS is not a very common disease and only affects 20 people per 1 million.
Even so, given the fact that a cause for it has not been found yet, it would be useful for experts to look deeper into the matter.
Image Source: rfi