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
Diagnosis and Tests
- Electromyography (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: MedlinePlus Genetics (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetic Testing for ALS (ALS Association) - PDF
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: Medical cost and healthcare utilization of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in China:...
- Article: The efficacy and safety of Chinese herbal compound combined with western...
- Article: Differential Neuropsychological Profile of Patients With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis With and...
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -- see more articles