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Drugs tested for Lou Gehrig's disease

From San Diego, at the Society for Neuroscience meeting

Two drugs better known for treating other diseases may also help people afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the fatal neuromuscular illness also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

One of the drugs is tamoxifen, which is often prescribed to women with breast cancer. Benjamin Brooks of the University of WisconsinMadison and his colleagues became curious about the drug when they noticed that a patient with ALS, who was also receiving tamoxifen for breast cancer, maintained her muscle strength over a period of 4 years.

"Her course of ALS was much less severe than we had expected," says Brooks.

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