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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 Available in Spanish
- Frequently Asked Questions about ALS and the ALS Registry (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- What Is ALS? (ALS Association) Available in Spanish
- About ALS: FAQ (ALS Association)
- Benefits for Military Veterans with ALS (ALS Association)
- For Caregivers: Coping with Burnout (ALS Association)
- MDA ALS Caregiver's Guide (Muscular Dystrophy Association)
- Oral Care for the Patient with ALS: A Guide for the Caregiver (ALS Association)
- ALS Association's Patient Bill of Rights for People Living with ALS (ALS Association)
- Compassionate Allowances (Social Security Administration)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (National Institutes of Health)
- Genetic Testing for ALS (ALS Association) - PDF
- Genetics Home Reference: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (National Library of Medicine)
- Genetic Lassos May Steer Neurons Toward Survival During Lou Gehrig's Disease (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- NIH Researchers Identify New Gene Mutation Associated with ALS and Dementia (National Institute on Aging)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Assistive device with conventional, alternative, and brain-computer interface inputs to...
- Article: Identification of unexpected respiratory abnormalities in patients with amyotrophic lateral...
- Article: ATXN2 polyQ intermediate repeats are a modifier of ALS survival.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis -- see more articles
- Glossary of ALS-Related Medical and Scientific Terms (ALS Association)
- ALS Research and Clinical Centers (Muscular Dystrophy Association)
- Who Gets ALS? (ALS Association)