Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sucker-Chump study results

My brave, admirable, and freakishly healthy friend, Jansenist (the Sucker-Chump), allowed researchers to poke him in the spine -- twice! -- to draw out cerebral-spinal fluid to compare to that of people with ALS.

They only had 31 non-ALS volunteers out of roughly 275 million people in the United States. So all of you ladies sending me naked pictures of yourselves can stop feeling so charitable -- you never underwent a spinal tap for me.

From the Journal of Neurochemistry, Volume 95, Number 5, December 2005, pp. 1461-1471:

We identified 30 mass ion peaks with statistically
significant (p<0.01) differences between control and ALS subjects.

Also interesting:

The control group included 4 healthy subjects, 2 cases of demyelinating disorder, 1 neuropathy, 1 Lymes disease, 1 meningitis, and 1 stroke.


RL next applied these rules to make disease predictions in 20 coded test subjects that included 4 healthy subjects and 6 neurologic disease controls (see Methods). RL correctly identified 8 of 10 ALS subjects (RL provided no diagnostic prediction for one of the ALS subjects) and 6 of 10 control subjects. The diagnostic predictive values for this biomarker panel in the coded test group were: 80% sensitivity, 60% specificity and 74% accuracy. The overall coverage was 95% (19 of 20), which refers to the percentage of total predicted cases (ALS + Controls) excluding the “no prediction” case and the positive predictive value (PPV) for ALS was 89%. ALS subjects in the training set used to create the biomarker panel had an average time from symptom onset until CSF draw of 385 days, suggesting that our biomarker panel is most predictive for subjects within approximately one year from clinical symptom onset.

I bet that one ALS guy who the study could not cope with actually has Lymes disease instead, word.

Maybe I should have another spinal tap to see if the method detects me as ALS or not. But nah, I'm tired of being poked.
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