Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a nervous system disease that attacks nerve cells called neurons in your brain and spinal cord. These neurons transmit messages from your brain and spinal cord to your voluntary muscles - the ones you can control, like in your arms and legs. At first, this causes mild muscle problems. Some people notice:
- Trouble walking or running
- Trouble writing
- Speech problems
Eventually, you lose your strength and cannot move. When muscles in your chest fail, you cannot breathe. A breathing machine can help, but most people with ALS die from respiratory failure.
The disease usually strikes between age 40 and 60. More men than women get it. No one knows what causes ALS. It can run in families, but usually it strikes at random. There is no cure. Medicines can relieve symptoms and, sometimes, prolong survival.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Diagnosis and Tests
- Diagnosis of ALS (Muscular Dystrophy Association)
- Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Who Gets ALS? (ALS Association)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetic Testing for ALS (ALS Association)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Study on the Diagnostic Value of Neuroelectrophysiological Examination in Patients with...
- Article: Transplantation of human neural progenitor cells secreting GDNF into the spinal...
- Article: Combined Regulatory T-Lymphocyte and IL-2 Treatment Is Safe, Tolerable, and Biologically...
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -- see more articles