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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
- All About ALS (National Institutes of Health)
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary Also in Spanish
- Frequently Asked Questions about ALS and the ALS Registry (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- What Is ALS? (ALS Association) Also in Spanish
- Brain Chip Helps Paralyzed 'Type' with Their Mind (02/21/2017, HealthDay)
- Does Mercury in Fish Play a Role in ALS? (02/20/2017, HealthDay)
- Brain Scans Let 'Locked-In' ALS Patients Communicate (01/31/2017, HealthDay)
- Benefits for Military Veterans with ALS (ALS Association)
- For Caregivers: Coping with Burnout (ALS Association)
- MDA ALS Caregiver's Guide (Muscular Dystrophy Association) - PDF
- Oral Care for the Patient with ALS: A Guide for the Caregiver (ALS Association)
- Genetic Testing for ALS (ALS Association) - PDF
- Genetics Home Reference: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (National Library of Medicine)
Statistics and Research
- Facts You Should Know (ALS Association)
- NIH Researchers Identify New Gene Mutation Associated with ALS and Dementia (National Institute on Aging)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Vorapaxar and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Coincidence or Adverse Association?
- Article: Positron emission tomography in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Towards targeting of...
- Article: Neuron-Microglia Interactions in Motor Neuron Degeneration. The Inflammatory Hypothesis in...
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -- see more articles
- Glossary of ALS-Related Medical and Scientific Terms (ALS Association)