ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
A classic motor neuron disease. Motor neuron diseases are progressive chronic diseases of the nerves that come from the spinal cord responsible for supplying electrical stimulation to the muscles. This stimulation is necessary for the movement of body parts.Lou Gehrig's Disease: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is quite a mouthful. The disease is therefore usually referred to simply as ALS. In North America it is sometimes called "Lou Gehrig’s disease" after the great durable baseball player who had it. The movie, "Pride of the Yankees", tells the his life story. As a New York Yankee, Gehrig was named the American League's most valuable player 4 times (in 1927, 1931, 1934 and 1936). In 14 seasons Gehrig did not miss a single game for a total of 2,130 games. Gehrig was born in 1903, and he died in 1941 at the age of 38.Epidemiology: ALS strikes in mid-life, most often in the fifth through seventh decades of life. Men are about one-and-a-half times more likely to have the disease as women. It affects about 20,000 Americans with 5,000 new cases occurring in the United States each year.The Disease Process: ALS occurs when specific nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. The loss of these motor neurons causes the muscles under their control to weaken and waste away, leading to paralysis. The cause of this disease process is still unknown.Signs and Symptoms: ALS manifests itself in different ways, depending on which muscles weaken first. Symptoms may include tripping and falling, loss of motor control in hands and arms, difficulty speaking, swallowing and/or breathing, persistent fatigue, and twitching and cramping, sometimes quite severely.Treatment: There is no cure for ALS; nor is there a proven therapy that will prevent or reverse the course of the disorder. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved riluzole, the first drug that has been shown to prolong the survival of ALS patients. Patients may also receive supportive treatments that address some of their symptoms. Prognosis (Outlook): ALS is progressive and fatal. The usual causes of death of patients with motor neuron diseases are not directly related to the disease, but result from simultaneous additional illnesses which ultimately occur because of weakness of the body. These illnesses are often infections.Duration of Disease: ALS usually leads to death within 5 years of the time the diagnosis of ALS is made; the range is from 2 to 7 years.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — n a rare fatal progressive degenerative disease that affects pyramidal motor neurons, usu. begins in middle age, and is characterized esp. by increasing and spreading muscular weakness abbr. ALS called also Lou Gehrig s disease * * * a motor… …   Medical dictionary

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — This article is about progressive Motor Neuron Disease (MND) affecting both the upper motor neurons and lower motor neurons. For MND affecting either but not necessarily both, see Motor neurone disease. ALS redirects here. For other uses, see ALS …   Wikipedia

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — A classic motor neuron disease. Motor neuron diseases are progressive chronic diseases of the nerves that come from the spinal cord responsible for supplying electrical stimulation to the muscles. This stimulation is necessary for the movement of …   Medical dictionary

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis —   (ALS)   A wasting neurological disease (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which some think can be caused by ingestion of cycad seeds, e.g. the Chamorro people of Guam who traditionally ate the seeds of Cycas micronesica have exhibited symptoms of this… …   Expanded glossary of Cycad terms

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — noun thickening of tissue in the motor tracts of the lateral columns and anterior horns of the spinal cord; results in progressive muscle atrophy that starts in the limbs • Syn: ↑ALS, ↑Lou Gehrig s disease • Hypernyms: ↑nervous disorder,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — /ay muy euh trof ik, troh fik, ay muy euh /, Pathol. an incurable disease of unknown cause in which progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord leads to atrophy and eventually complete paralysis of the voluntary… …   Universalium

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — or Lou Gehrig disease Degenerative nervous system disorder causing muscle wasting and paralysis. The disease usually occurs after age 40, more often in men. Most victims die within two to five years from respiratory muscle atrophy. ALS affects… …   Universalium

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — noun Etymology: 2a + my + trophic Date: 1886 a rare progressive degenerative fatal disease affecting the motor neurons, usually beginning in middle age, and characterized especially by increasing and spreading muscular weakness and …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — n. (Medicine) ALS, Lou Gehrig s disease, incurable progressive disease of the motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that causes their degeneration and muscle degeneration …   English contemporary dictionary

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — a•my•o•troph′ic lat′eral sclero′sis [[t]ˌeɪ maɪ əˈtrɒf ɪk, ˈtroʊ fɪk, eɪˌmaɪ ə [/t]] n. pat a nervous system disease in which degeneration of motor neurons in the brain stem and spinal cord leads to atrophy and paralysis of the voluntary muscles… …   From formal English to slang

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