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Causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

  • Cameron Pauley
  • Christine Mathis

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is often called to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease" in the Americas, is a intensifying nervous system degenerating disease that influences nerve cells in the brain and in the spine. Engine neurons go from the mind to the spinal cord and the muscles dispersed throughout the body. The degeneration of the engine neurons in ALS eventually contributes to death. When the motor unit neurons wither away, the power of the mind to regulate muscle activity is lost. With voluntary muscle action steadily afflicted, patients in the later phases of the condition may eventually become totally paralyzed. (http://www. alsa. org/about-als/what-is-als. html)

ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease after Lou Gehrig, a hall of popularity baseball player for the brand new York Yankees who was diagnosed with ALS in the 1930s, and passed on at a young get older of 37. Englanders and Australians call it Engine Neurone Disease. The French refer to it as Maladie de Charcot, following the French doctor Jean-Martin Charcot, who first wrote about ALS in 1869. (http://kidshealth. org/kid/grownup/conditions/als. html#)

Jean- Marie Charcot observed the first records of the characteristics of ALS in 1874, and known as the fatal symptoms predicated on what he found. He was a famous French neurologist who has been known as "the Father of Neurology". (http://dev. nsta. org/evwebs/2150/record. htm)

The name Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis originates from the Greek words. The "A" in Amyotrophic means no, "Myo" means muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment. Basically, "No muscle nourishment. " Whenever a muscle is atrophic, it wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the area in someone's spine where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles can be found. As the region degenerates, it brings about hardening ("sclerosis") of the spot. (www. alsa. org)

As motor unit neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscles that normally lead to muscle movement. The first signs and symptoms of ALS are so unnoticeable that they are often forgotten. The first few symptoms include rigidity, cramping, muscle twitching, or weakness. Victims of ALS may develop talk impediments and later, difficulty nibbling and swallowing. Affect individuals may experience malnutrition because of a considerable lower food intake scheduled to dysphagia and a rise in their body's metabolism anticipated to prolonged disorder. The arms and legs start to look thinner as muscle mass wastes away. People with ALS lose the ability to walk and almost all of their strength. Certain individuals eventually become reliant on a wheelchair. Over time, muscle weakness triggers most individuals to reduce the use of the hands and hands. Breathing becomes progressively more difficult because the muscles of the the respiratory system weaken. A lot of people with ALS will usually perish from lung failing within two to ten years after the signs and symptoms of ALS first appear. However, disease progression varies widely among victims of ALS. (http://www. ninds. nih. gov/disorders/amyotrophiclateralsclerosis/detail_ALS. htm)

The body has hundreds of nerves. A couple of those mixed up in process of memory, thinking, detecting feelings, among others for hearing, eye-sight, and other bodily functions. The nerves that are affected whenever a person with ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary moves and muscle electric power. Examples of voluntary actions are waving your arms or to boogie; these activities are manipulated by the muscles in the legs and arms, respectively. (www. alsa. org)

The heart and the digestive system are also made of muscle but some other kind, and their movements are involuntary. Once the heart is better than or a meal is used and digested, it happens automatically. Therefore, the heart and digestive system are not involved with ALS. Inhaling and exhaling also may seem to be to be involuntary, but ALS may eventually impact on respiration. (w)

Eventually, all muscles under voluntary control are damaged, and individuals lose their durability and the ability to move their thighs, arms, and the rest of the body. When muscles in the torso wall and diaphragm fail, people cannot breathe without ventilator support. A lot of people with ALS will usually die from respiratory system inability, often within three to five years right from the start of symptoms. However, only a small percent of these with ALS will live for ten or more years. (http://www. ninds. nih. gov)

However, even at a sophisticated stage, you can still see, notice, smell, and feel touch. The nerves that hold thoughts of hot, cold, pain, pressure, or even being tickled, aren't damaged by Lou Gehrig's disease. In many people with ALS, the elements of the mind that allow us to think, remember, and find out also are impacted by the disease. (http://kidshealth. org)

As many as twenty to thirty thousand people in the United States have Lou Gehrig's disease, and around five thousand people in the U. S. are diagnosed with the disease every year. ALS is one of the most common engine neuron diseases worldwide, and everyone, regardless of competition or ethnic qualifications, can be affected. ALS more than often strikes people between forty and sixty years, but sometimes young and old people can also develop the disease. Men seem to have the disease more than women. In ninety percent of all ALS cases, the disease occurs at pure random with no clear risk factors. People with this quite sporadic disease don't have a family history of ALS, and family are not regarded as at any risk for developing it. Approximately 10 % of ALS conditions are inherited. The genetic form of ALS results from a chain of inheritance that requires only one father or mother to carry the gene necessary for the condition. Mutations in greater than a dozen genes have been found to cause familial ALS. (http://www. ninds. nih. gov)

Although this disease can reach anyone, it is extremely unusual in children. According to the ALS Association, most people who develop Lou Gehrig's disease are parents between forty and seventy. Only two from every hundred-thousand people will get the disease each year. Because it is not contagious, people cannot catch ALS from someone who has the condition. (http://kidshealth. org)

There have been good deal of of celebrities who have possessed ALS. Lou Gehrig is one of the most famous men to experienced the disease. Someone else is physicist Stephen Hawking, who's ALS has made him almost completely paralyzed and communicates through the voice synthesizer. While not as well known as some others, the former Chinese president Mao Zedong died of ALS in 1976. Some others are Vietnam veteran Dieter Denglar, musician Charles Mingus, and actor Michael Zaslow. ALS can hit anyone, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or location. No minority group is more likely to contract the condition from a new group.

The cause of ALS is not yet known, and analysts know not yet know why Lou Gehrig's disease strikes some people rather than others. A ground-breaking step for the answer of this question was made in 1993 when researchers backed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke found out that mutations in the gene that produces the enzyme were associated with circumstances of hereditary ALS. You can find information that the mutant protein can become harmful, though it's not clear why. Since that time, over a dozen additional hereditary mutations have been found and each of these gene discoveries has provided new insights into ALS. (http://www. ninds. nih. gov)

Researchers are also studying the role of environmental factors such as use of waste, as well as behavioral and occupational factors or trauma. For instance, studies of populations of armed service personnel who have been deployed to the Gulf region through the 1991 warfare show that those veterans were more likely to build up ALS compared to military employees who weren't in the region.

In the newer years, experts have discovered a wealth of new understanding involving the physiology of the condition. Since there is no stop or treatment today that ceases or reverses the consequences of ALS, there may be one FDA approved drug -Riluzole -which slows the development of ALS reasonably. (http://www. alsa. org)


"What Is ALS?" The ALS Association. Web. Apr. 2014.

"Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). " KidsHealth. Ed. Steven Dowshen. The Nemours Groundwork, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. Apr. 2014.

"History of ALS. " History of ALS. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.

"Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Reality Sheet. " : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Heart stroke (NINDS). Web. Apr. 2014.

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