What is the disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclrosis?

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What is the Disease?

ALS is an extremely deadly disease affecting the nerve cells that control the victim's voluntary muscles. These nerves shrink and eventually die, leaving the muscles without stimulation. As these muscles go without stimulation, they too eventually shrink and die. The victim progressively weakens to the point of complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles and some involuntary muscles, such as breathing and swallowing, and soon after this point, death is inevitable.

'A' means 'Without'

'Myo' means 'Muscle'

'Trophic' means 'Nourishment'


refers to uneven development of symptoms between right and left sides


refers to 'destruction' of tissue

The History of ALS

A French doctor named Charcot first identified ALS in 1874. It is one of the most devastating diagnoses a person can receive. ALS is said to start between the years of 40 and 70, with the exact average being 45.6 years old.

The most classic case of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is Lou Gehrig.

Lou Gehrig was a New York Yankees first baseman, who from 1923 to 1939, had never missed a game and had a life time batting average of .340. However, the symptoms of ALS emerged in 1938, and in 1939, he was diagnosed with the disease. At that time doctors knew little to nothing about the disease and the only suggested treatment was the untested vitamin E. So Gehrig ate a daily plate full of garden grass, until June 2, 1941 when he died at the age of 37.

ALS affects approximately 1 out of every 100,000 people. In the United States there are around 30,000 Americans affected by ALS, and 3,000 more are diagnosed with the disease each year, with men being affected slightly more than women, and in some cases, running in families. However while this is the same number of...