Causes of and Treatments for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the U.S. is a widely known debilitating disease that effects the upper and lower motor neurons in the nervous system. The degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons in turn cause muscle atrophy and chronic loss of muscle use. ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron disease. Heredity is a major cause of ALS but can show up in any patients. ALS usually presents itself in late middle age but can show up in children and even young adults. The cause of ALS is not known. It seems to be caused by a genetic mutation, but the mutation has to have an environmental trigger to cause the disease. In the past the disease was believed to have one cause, but that does not hold true to current findings. The majority of ALS cases are sporadic in nature and can pop up anywhere, but 5 to 10 percent of cases has some sort of heredity involved. What is interesting is that sporadic ALS and familial ALS may have the same genetic mutation and the environment is the key factor in contracting the disease. Some of the signs and symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease is loss of voluntary muscle use. Cramping and twitching is common as the degrading axons become damaged and cannot transmit the action potential needed to muscle contraction. Sometimes symptoms start showing up in a specific region but can be mild loss of use to multiple areas also. The loss of use of
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