Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s disease or Motor Neuron Disease, is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling the voluntary muscles. In ALS, both the upper motor neurons and the lower motor neurons degenerate or die, ceasing to send messages to muscles. Unable to function, the muscles
gradually weaken, waste away (become atrophic), and typically twitch (fasciculate).

amyotrophic lateral

Eventually the inability of the brain to drive and/or control voluntary movement is the triggering mechanism. Individuals with ALS lose their strength and the ability to move their arms, legs, and body. When muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, individuals finally lose the ability to breathe without ventilatory support.
The disease does not affect a person’s ability to see, smell, taste, hear, or recognize touch, and it does not usually impair a person’s thinking or other cognitive abilities. However, several recent studies suggest that a small percentage of patients may experience problems with memory or decision-making, and there are subtypes that may even lead to a form of dementia.

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