The disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease

Essay by centralflrexHigh School, 10th grade November 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a disease that causes muscles to stop working. ALS is a rare disease found mostly in very active people. Another name for ALS is Motor Neuron Disease (MND) and the most common name is Lou Gehrig's disease. Lou Gehrig was a hall of fame baseball player who played with Babe Ruth on the Yankees. He once hit four homeruns in one game. He fell victim to ALS in the late 1930's.

ALS was discovered in Paris, France in the early 1870's. Jean-Martin Charcot had worked with many patients of similar diseases before discovering ALS. People who have this muscular disease first notice a weakening in the muscles of the arms and legs, poor balance, speech, and swallowing problems. Many people who have it fail to perform simple everyday tasks such as tying their shoes or buttoning their shirts. Over time, ALS patients will have to switch to liquid diets.

They become more fatigued and very weak. They lose almost all control over their upper or lower body. Almost all the victims of ALS have to use respiratory machines to breath and have their food inserted directly into the stomach. The average person with ALS will die about five years after diagnosis. Doctors and scientists do not know how the disease is acquired but ten percent of ALS patients inherited the disease.

MND is the name of a group of related diseases affecting the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons are nerve cells that control the muscles. These motor neurons, in the brain, die out. Then, the nerves, which are controlled by the motor neurons, are no longer receiving signals from the brain and you lose the ability to use many muscles in your body. ALS patients normally sleep a lot because...