Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS) is a rare neuromuscular disease that causes progressive weakness of voluntary muscle movement. It is a type of motor neuron disease (MND) that affects the motor neurons (also known as corticospinal neurons) present in the arms, legs, and face.
In this blog, we will give you an overview of the disease as well as throw light on the best treatment for Primary Lateral Sclerosis available only at Plexus Bangalore and Plexus Hyderabad.
What is Primary Lateral Sclerosis?
In PLS, the upper motor neurons slowly break down over time. These neurons are present in the brain, and due to their deterioration, the brain is unable to send motor signals to the rest of the body. This is why, as the disease advances, the muscles in the legs become weaker and weaker.
PLS also affects the muscles in the arms and face.
The breaking down of motor neurons and the central nervous system’s inability to control voluntary muscles causes extensive movement problems like –
- Balance and coordination issues
- Slowed movement
- Speech issues
- Dysphagia (swallowing troubles)
Symptoms of PLS
PLS is a slowly progressing type of MND. Its symptoms may take years to manifest to a degree that actually requires medical attention. The first symptoms of PLS usually begin in the legs. There have been very rare cases of the disease beginning in the tongue and then gradually progressing down the spinal cord to the legs. The symptoms of PLS can differ case by case.
For the purpose of this blog, we have listed down the most common symptoms of PLS that you need to watch out for:
- Stiffness, muscle spasms, and weakness – usually starting in one leg, and eventually progressing to the other leg, your arms, tongue, and jaw
- Clumsiness and uncoordinated movements
- Balance issues
- Fine motor challenges
- Hoarse voice, slurred speech, drooling
- Rapid and unpredictable mood swings
- Bladder control issues (rare, can happen in the later stages of the disease)
- Respiratory problems (rare, can happen in the later stages of the disease)
Types of PLS
There are two types of Primary Lateral Sclerosis. They are:
Adult-onset primary lateral sclerosis
This type of PLS begins in adulthood. It is more common in males than females, and usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 years.
Juvenile primary lateral sclerosis
Beginning in childhood, this type of PLS can only be inherited. Juvenile PLS is an autosomal recessive inherited disease. For a child to have PLS, both parents have to be carriers of the mutated gene ALS2. The parents do not have to have PLS in order to pass it onto their child. They can simply be the carriers.
Difference between PLS and ALS
The symptoms of PLS are similar to the symptoms of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). And that is why PLS is often mistakenly diagnosed as ALS.
Although related, PLS progresses much slower than ALS, and is not always fatal.
While there are no internationally approved medications for PLS, doctors recommend a combination of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, nutrition plans, etc. to manage its symptoms.
Plexus Rehabilitation for PLS
The best treatment for PLS is Plexus’ regenerative rehabilitation program. This program helps the patient manage symptoms of PLS, make changes to their current lifestyle, as well as enable them to achieve their aspirations for life.
Stem Cell Therapy at India’s first ISO-Certified Stem Cell Research Centre
Plexus Neuro and Stem Cell Research Centre uses autologous stem cells taken from the patient’s own body. The procedure is conducted under the guidance of Dr. Na’eem Sadiq, by a team of highly-skilled and experienced stem cell and rehabilitation specialists.
Stem cell therapy for PLS
Stem cell therapy is essentially a type of regenerative treatment that uses the body’s natural healing mechanism to treat a number of conditions. Injected stem cells slow down the rate of neurodegeneration and also have the capacity to self-renew, regenerate cells, and repair damaged tissue.
Neuroprotection is one of the primary objectives of regenerative treatments like stem cell therapy. Injected stem cells can also provide immunomodulation, secrete growth factors, and also produce supporting cells that can protect damaged motor neurons from further damage and degeneration. Some of these supporting cells include astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
Today, stem cell therapy is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for MND.
Some of the benefits of stem cell therapy for PLS include:
- Enhanced everyday functioning
- Improved quality of life
- Immune system modulation and reduction of inflammation
- Prevention of further nerve damage
- Speedy recovery post-procedure
- Non-surgical procedure
- Zero complications and side-effects
At Plexus, our stem cell procedure involves the following steps:
- After reviewing the patient’s medical history, a panel of stem cell consultants will conduct a thorough physical examination of the patient
- Therapists will ascertain if the patient is eligible for stem cell therapy
- Stem cells are procured from the patient’s bone marrow; this procedure is performed under local anesthesia
- Collected stem cells are prepared sent to the laboratory for quality checks and isolated for further therapy
- In the laboratory, isolated stem cells divide and form daughter cells which can either self-renew or turn into specialized cells like brain cells, bone cells, or muscle cells
- The procedure carried out is absolutely safe and painless. Patients are discharged on the same day .
- Further course of treatment is determined based on the patient’s condition.
Stem cell therapy at Plexus is safe and risk-free because the autologous stem cells are drawn from the patient’s blood, bone marrow,. They are progenitor cells that have the potential to multiply and transform into specialized cells, taking on the functions of the damaged cells by replacing them.
Other therapies in the rehabilitation program
Muscle relaxants and medication
Plexus’ rehabilitation for MND also offers:
- Strengthening of muscles in the shoulder, neck, upper and lower limbs, and oral structures
- Activities for daily living training
- Endurance training and fitness management
- Diets and nutrition plans
- Hand function training
- Functional splinting
- Functional stretching for relief from muscle stiffness
- Energy conservation and work simplification training
- Counseling and caregiver support
Book an appointment with us today.
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What is the difference between primary lateral sclerosis and ALS?
PLS progresses much slower than ALS, and is not always fatal. PLS is often mistakenly diagnosed as ALS because of their similar symptoms.
Can lateral sclerosis be cured?
Lateral sclerosis is a progressive type of MND. Its symptoms can be managed at the Plexus Rehabilitation for MND.
Is PLS genetic?
Juvenile PLS is inherited by the child if both parents are carriers of the mutated gene known as ALS2.
Does PLS show on an MRI?
In patients with PLS, atrophy of the frontoparietal part of the brain shows up in an MRI.
At what age does PLS start?
Adult-onset PLS typically begins between the ages of 40 and 60 years. Juvenile PLS can begin in childhood.
What is the average lifespan of an ALS patient?
The lifespan of an ALS patient is determined by their symptoms and how far their disease has progressed.
What is very slow progressing ALS?
Most ALS cases are rapidly progressing diseases. There are only very few cases that have progressed slowly. PLS, on the other hand, is a slow progressing type of MND.