Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

"Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest places if you look at it right"
-sean, an ALS patient

What is ALS?
ALS is also known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a continual disease that effects motor neurons in the brain and spinal degeneration of the motor neurons in this disease lead to death. As the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to control and function muscle movement decreases. Later stages of the disease can also lead to a patient being paralyzed.

How is it inherited? In some cases it is said to appear with no family history of the disease.
Type of inheritance: Autosomal Dominant
Chromosome number possibilites: 14, 16, 21
Gene linked: coding for an enzyme, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1)
Scientists are still in the process of finding how ALS is formed and inherited.

  • 90% of all cases appears in people without family history of the disease
  • Sporadic ALS (the most common form) contains 90 to 95% of all cases
  • Familial ALS (occurring once or more in a family) contains 5 to 10% of all cases
  • 0.03 % are diagnosed younger than the age of 32 or older than 92
  • About 5.00 % are diagnosed younger than 47 or older than 83
  • A mutation is known for about 20 % of all cases
  • About 2% of all patients with ALS have the SOD1 genetic change.
  • between the ages of 40 and 70
  • 30,000 Americans with 5,600 new cases diagnosed in the US each year.
  • 1/100,000 deaths in people over age 20 are caused by ALS.
  • Only about 25% live five years or more
ALS affects people of all races, all ethnicities and all ages

Symptoms/ effects (initially they vary from person to person):
  • twitching
  • muscle cramps mostly in hands/ feet
  • tripping
  • falling
  • dropping things
  • fatigue
  • uncontrollable times of laughing/crying
  • slurred/thick speech
  • difficulty in projecting the voice
  • difficulty in walking, dressing, washing things, and buttoning clothes
  • shortness of breath, difficulty breathing/or swallowing

  • leads to death and paralysis

the affected nerve fiber is on the right

Treatment (although ALS has no cure, the following have helped patients through as comfortable as possible):
  • ventilatory support for breathing muscles
  • physical, occupational, speech, respiratory, and nutritional therapies
  • heat or whirlpool therapy to relieve muscle cramps
  • exercise (in moderation)
  • RilutekĀ® has extended the time of living for patients
  • medication to relieve small symptoms
  • special equiptment to help continue daily duties such as: splints, grab bars, braces, etc.
  • wheelchairs or special matresses
  • any other piece of equiptment to relieve any sort of pain that the patient feels

a fight to stay alive

Interesting Information/ Stories of ALS:

ALS awareness month: May
Famous cases of ALS: Lou Gehrig and Mao Zedong
ALS in our area: The owner of Momentum Fitness Center, Leighann Moll, her sister died of ALS and there is an annual fundraising event called "Pace for Pam"

Lou Gehrig


cv-8f-scw: Very good job. Lots of information, the videos are great, and there is even a quiz. I really like the quote towards the top of the page.

CV-8F-ATA- I think this page is FANTASTIC!! I love the layout and the big font you used. It was really easy to understand. I also love the inspirational quote!
I would love to look into donation for the Pace For Pam event.
CV-8F-KEA- Good information and layout, i really liked the videos! Great Job!
CV-8F-AJP: Very informative, great videos, colorful, and neatly organized! The quiz is very helpful too.