Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Shane Boucher

What is ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord die and do not send chemical signals to the muscles, the muscles can not be controlled. In simpler terms ALS is the wasting away of muscles in the body.

What is A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig's Disease ?

Lou Gehrig's Symptoms

These are the symptoms of ALS in order of which they appear:

  • ⅓ patients first notice when hands become clumsy and have difficuly performing fine tasks

  • ⅓ notice weakness in legs and often trip over things

  • ⅓ notice slowing of speech or difficulty

  • trouble talking

  • coordination problems

  • twitching

  • Tight or stiff muscles spastically

  • muscle spasms

  • difficulty swallowing

  • loose walking

  • weakness in the extremities

  • Total muscle failure

ALS does not affect, logical thought, intellagence, touch, taste, smell, hearing or sight eye movments; involuntary muscles of the heart, bowel, or bladder; or sexual function


There is no specific diagnosis for ALS. Based on symptoms and signs one shows doctors will rule out other diseases. Most of the time this is done by tests that observe the patient.

What causes ALS

There is no known cause for Lou Gehrig's Disease however, it has been linked to genetic mutations. Familial or cases that are passed down appear in 5% - 10%
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Treatment for Lou Gehrig's

Currently there is no cure for ALS. A new medicine, Rilutek does not cure the disease but adds a few months of life expectancy.

General support therapy such as assisting muscle function and providing nourishment or devices such as,

-computers that speak due to movement of eyes


-speech synthesizers

help maintain independence in a person with ALS.


From diagnosis a person with ALS lives for about 2-5 years, it all depends on the person. The longest case has been up to 10 years.

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This past summer of 2015 the fad "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" was all over the internet. On Instagram Adian McCullough nominated me for the challenge. After I took the challenge I wanted to learn more about ALS. After some research on the internet I learned a great deal about Lou Gehrig's and what a horrible disease it is.
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Works Cited

Works Cited

"Beautiful and Easy to Use Newsletters | Smore." Smore. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.

"What Is A.L.S. or Lou Gehrig's Disease ?" YouTube. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.

" | Create and Share Visual Ideas Online." | Create and Share Visual Ideas Online. Web. 29 Jan. 2016.

Stephen Hawking By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons