Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

I have a friend who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS), a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. I wanted to find out more about this disease, what it does to people, how we can help them, and maybe how we could find a cure. If you have not heard of ALS you probably know of it by its other name, Lou Gehrig’s disease. About 1 out of 10 people with this disease are diagnosed by a defect genetically. For the other 9 the cause is still unknown. The neurons or nerve cells die away and no longer have the ability to send messages to your muscles. It means that you will lose muscle, begin twitching, and will lose the ability to move your arms and legs. And at some point you won’t be able to move your body at all. It slowly gets worse. This disease never affects the ability to think but you will eventually die to the fact that the muscles in your chest will stop working and you will asphyxiate. Some symptoms are having difficulty breathing or swallowing, head drop as cause of weakening muscles, cramps, speech problems, unusual weight loss and hoarseness in the voice. People typically die within 3-5 years of the diagnosis but about 1 in 4 will live a little more than 5 years. There are devices and therapies that can manage the symptoms, keep as much independence as possible and prolong survival. It doesn’t affect the brain at all and they are usually aware of their loss of functions and movement. People may even become depressed. A protein test was conducted last year to help physicians and researchers find the patients that have the highest risk for a rapid progression. These patients could then be given therapies that are new and being tested. Dr. Boylan said “A test like this could help identify those patients who are at risk for faster progression of weakness.”If there were a way to identify people who are likely to have relatively faster progression, it should be possible to conduct therapeutic trials with smaller numbers of patients in less time than is required presently.” The test measures the neurofilament heavy form in the blood and spinal fluid. They are proteins which provide structure to the motor neurons which are damaged by the disease. The proteins are then broken down and float around in blood serum and in your spinal fluid Dr. Boylan said that they found an association with high levels of the protein in the blood serum and spinal fluid and a faster progression of muscle weakness in patients. So far we have not found a cure to this disease but we a making new discoveries and progress. If you and/or a family member have already been diagnosed or you think are beginning to have symptoms, talk to your doctor about places, people, and medicine to help the symptoms.

File:Low Ca2+ buffering and excitotoxicity under physiological stress and pathophysiological conditions in motor neuron (MNs).jpg


Some questions for you;

Is there pain will ALS?

How does it start and is it constant?

Why is it referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease


3 thoughts on “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

  1. I also have heard of this disease but your post made me learn about it even more. The pictures you used were very good and you seemed to know what you are talking about. I was very interested on your topic with this disease and would like to learn more in the future. Try using this site for more information

  2. I have once before done a report on the illness of ALS as well. It surprised me finding out that some of the people that have this have an unknown reason as to how they officially started off with it in the first place. After Lou Gehrig was diagnosed to this disease, as it says in the article above, slowly he went downhill until he eventually died in 1941. Lou Gehrig had a significant story, he was a part of the New York Yankees baseball team when he was diagnosed with the disease. As a baseball player he then struggled significantly with the weakening of his muscles and difficulty keeping up with even every day tasks. Having to retire from his dream job he was then honored into the Hall-of-Fame and had brought much attention to the disease after this nobility.

  3. I have heard of this disease, but i didn’t quite know what it was. I didn’t know that people with ALS had little chances of serviving. I’m glad that studies are being made to help those with ALS. In answering the quiestion, “Why is it referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease?”, i found that Lou Gehrig was a baseball play who was in the Hall-of-Fame. He was a a member of the New York Yankees team, and in 1930 Lou was diagnosed with ALS. He was one of the first wellknown persons to give notice to this serious disease.

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