Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Other names: ALS and Lou Gehrig's Disease

By: Kayleigh Blaney


  • Muscle Weakness (arms and legs)
  • Tripping/ Falling a lot
  • Difficulty Speaking
  • Cramping/ Twitching
  • Trouble Eating/Swallowing
  • Sometimes Breathing is hard

Cause/ Inheritance

  • Mutation
  • In most cases, doctors don't know why ALS occurs.
  • Most cases are sporadic which means that it happens randomly
  • The genes affected are The genes affected are ALS2, ANG, ATXN2, C9orf72, DCTN1, FIG4, FUS, NEFH, OPTN, PRPH, SETX, SIGMAR1, SMN1, SOD1, SPG11, TARDBP, UBQLN2, VAPB, VCP
  • Affects chromosome 21
  • Five to 10 percent of the people with ALS inherited it (familial ALS).
  • Most people with familial ALS, their children have a 50-50 chance of developing the
  • disease
  • It's inherited by an autosomal dominant gene
  • The person has one copy of the gene with a mutation and one copy without a mutation

Population Affected

  • Anyone can get ALS
  • Commonly occurs between ages of 40-60
  • Women before the age of 65 have more of a risk
  • Miilitary veterans are twice as likely to be diagnosed for reasons we don't know

Treatments/ Cures

  • There is currently one FDA approved drug, riluzole, that modestly slows down the growing of ALS in some people.
  • Not a cure or treatment for ALS
  • Scientist have been learning more about the disease in the last few years

Medical Assistance

  • Prenatal genetic testing exists for ALS
  • ALS cannot be prevented. It either happens sporadically or it's inherited.
  • Medical assistance: Feeding tubes, Noninvasive ventilation, Wheelchair, Communication devices, Adaptive eating, writing and computer tools, Shower chair, Lift chairs and rising toilet seat, Transfer boards and mechanical lifts, Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication, Several drugs help with uncontrolled laughing or crying
  • Medication: Riluzole (Rilutek) is currently the only drug approved for the treatment of ALS. It can prolong life by several months, but it cannot eliminate symptoms entirely.
  • Long term outlook: The life expectancy is 2-5 years. 20% of patients live with ALS for over 5 years and 10% of them live with it for over 10 years. Since there is no cure, you can't live a perfect life, however, with proper care you can live comfortably as long as possible.

Works Cited

"Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)." KidsHealth. Ed. Steven Dowshen. The Nemours Foundation, 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.

"Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." (ALS) Causes. Mayo Clinic, 1998. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

Newhouse, Barbara. "About ALS." What Is ALS? ALS Association, 2010. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

Forman Neal, Lisa. "Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis." Genetics Home Reference. Genetics Home Reference, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

Diesease, Fighting Muscle. "Assistance in Stages of ALS Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis."Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

Stickler, Tracy. "ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)." Healthline. Healthline, 2005. Web. 30 Apr. 2015