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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
By: Laraib Sial
What’s Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
• Progressive neurodegenerative disease
• Is a disease in the nervous system that attacks the
neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
• Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease
• When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to
initiate and control muscle movement is lost.
• The longer you have the disease the affected person
will lose more strength. It will be harder to move and
eventually you won’t be able to move.
• There is no clear cause of ALS.
MRI of a patients brain affected by ALS (right) compared to a normail
brain (left)
• Increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the
arms and legs.
• When muscles no longer receive the messages from
the motor neurons the muscles begin to become
smaller (atrophy).
• Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue
• Twitching and/or cramping of the muscles.
• Signs that you have ALS will be mild muscle problems,
trouble walking or running, trouble breathing, speech
problems, trouble eating, and trouble writing.
Who is at risk?
• More men get ALS than women.
• Strikes usually between the 40 to 60 years of age.
Once diagnosed the patients usually lives for
another 3 to 5 years.
• ALS affects 1 in 100,000 people
• You could randomly get ALS.
• Can be passed through family.
• Scientist, Stephen Hawking
to the right, got ALS.
How is it treated?
• There is no cure today that stops or reverses
• FDA approved drug, riluzole, shows that it
modestly slows the progression of ALS.
• A ventilator will help with breathing since it
becomes difficult to breath.
• Most people with ALS die from respiratory
• There is no known way to prevent getting ALS.