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
- 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
- What Is ALS? (ALS Association) Also in Spanish
- Benefits for Military Veterans with ALS (ALS Association)
- For Caregivers: Coping with Burnout (ALS Association)
- MDA Guide for Caregivers (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)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Autoimmune Pathogenic Mechanisms, Clinical Features, and Therapeutic Perspectives.
- Article: The Role of Iron in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
- Article: Electrodiagnostics: MUNE and MUNIX as methods of estimating the number of...
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -- see more articles
- Glossary of ALS-Related Medical and Scientific Terms (ALS Association)