Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Matt Wednig

keep your head up!

ALS or Lou gehrig's disease is a form of motor neuron disease. It is a nervous system disease that weakens your muscles and impacts how your body functions physically. The neuron cells can be found in your brain and the spinal cord. ALS mostly occurs to people 40-60 years old and is inherited 50% of the time.

What Causes ALS

ALS formed when neuron cells in your body die off. Those cells can no longer send signals from your spine and brain to your body. Without those cells free radicals and reactive oxygen are allowed to spread to the muscles. When the reactive oxygen and radicals enter the body they cause harm to your genetic cells which hurts you as well as future relatives. It is not yet known if environmental factors contribute to ALS.

Symptoms of ALS

  • Twitching in hands and feet
  • Trouble walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble holdin head up
  • Impairments in arms and legs
  • Shortness in breath
  • Memory loss

Treatment Options

There is only one medication that makes ALS more comfortable, it is called rilizole however it does not slow down its progression. Rilizole provides muscle cramp relief and limits spasticity. There is also many therapy options such as whirlpool and speech therapies.


ALS gets worse as you age, and the average life expectency after a diagnosis is only 5 years. Also, ALS stops its own progression at times and then starts back up. There is no reason yet as to why that happens. Currently there is no real way to live a full life as an ALS patient. But there is a bright spot, Stephen Hawking has beat those odds by nearly 50 years.

Personal Statement

While I did this project I had hoped to learn of a long term treatment for ALS. I was surprised to learn that ALS can impair all of your limbs. I also did not know how many therapy options there were as well as how much they helped. Another thing was that most cases of ALS were passed down through generations. To conclude I thought this was a good project because I learned about the disease and the people it affected.