2What is ALS? A progressive neurodegenerative disease Affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord
3Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death.When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost.
4Patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. For the vast majority of people, their minds remain unaffected.
5“No Muscle Nourishment” A-myo-trophicGreek language“A” means no or negative.“Myo” refers to muscle.“Trophic” means nourishment.“No Muscle Nourishment”
6LateralIdentifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located.As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.
8Symptoms of ALSMuscle weakness in one or more of the following: hands, arms, legs or muscles of speech, swallowing or breathingTwitching and cramping of musclesImpairment of the use of the arms and legsThick speech and difficulty in projecting the voiceShortness of breath, difficulty breathing and swallowing
9Symptoms (con’t.)Since ALS attacks only motor neurons, the senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell are not affected.For many people, muscles of the eyes and bladder are generally not affected.For the majority, their mind and thought are not impaired and remain sharp even though the body is degenerating.
10Who Gets ALS? Over 5,600 people in the US are diagnosed each year. 60% are men; 93% are Caucasian50% of all people affected live at least 3+ years after diagnosis.
11Treatment No cure or treatment that halts or reverses ALS. FDA approved drug, Rilutek, that modestly slows the progression of ALS.Therapies can help manage the symptoms.
12Famous People with ALSHarry Browne -- Author and two-time Libertarian U.S. presidential candidate
13Famous PeopleLou Gehrig -- National Baseball Hall of Fame member. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig's disease.
14Famous PeopleStephen Hawking -- physicist and author of A Brief History of Time. Hawking has lived with ALS for the past 43 years.
15Famous PeopleJim "Catfish" Hunter -- Baseball player
16Famous PeopleMorrie Schwartz -- Educator and subject of the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
17Famous PeopleMao Tse Tung -- Communist leader of China, according to a biography written by his personal physician
18Famous PeopleHenry Wallace -- U.S. vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt