ALS Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Treatment News and Information

What is ALS and What Causes it?

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a rapidly progressive, invariably fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. The disease belongs to a group of disorders known as motor neuron diseases, which are characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons.

ALS (sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a difficult disease to diagnose. There is no one test or procedure to ultimately establish the diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). It is through a clinical examination and series of diagnostic tests, often ruling out other diseases that mimic ALS, that a diagnosis can be established.

The cause of ALS is unknown, although medical research scientists are learning more about this devastating disease everyday. According to the Mayo Clinic, ALS is inherited in 5 to 10 percent of cases, while the rest have no known cause. Researchers are studying several possible causes including gene mutation, chemical imbalance, disorganized immune response, and protein mishandling.

According to the CDC which reports on data from the National ALS Registry, more than 12,000 people in the U.S. have a definite diagnosis of ALS, for a prevalence of 3.9 cases per 100,000 persons in the U.S. general population.

ALS Symptoms and Signs

Many symptoms are common to many different types of diseases and conditions, such as unexplained weight loss, fatigue, etc. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing so that a proper diagnosis can be made, and if necessary, you can begin treatment.

If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms associated with ALS, consult with your doctor to identify what may be causing your symptoms. Advancements in diagnosing and treating ALS are occurring on a regular basis thanks to ongoing research being conducted at major medical research universities and institutions around the world. 

According to the ALS Association, the initial symptoms of ALS can vary widely from person to person. While one person may have problems grasping a pen or lifting a coffee mug, another person may experience a change in vocal pitch when speaking. Gradual onset, painless, progressive muscle weakness is the most common initial symptom in ALS. Other early symptoms vary but can include tripping, dropping things, abnormal fatigue of the arms and/or legs, slurred speech, muscle cramps and twitches, and/or uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. When muscles in the diaphragm and chest wall fail, people lose the ability to breathe without ventilatory support.

ALS is typically a disease that involves a gradual onset. In addition, the rate of progression from one individual to another varies as well. Although the mean survival time with ALS is three to five years, many people live five, 10 or more years.

For more information regarding ALS, please visit the ALS Association website.

See below for updated news and information regarding ALS including new medical research, treatments and advancements. 

Latest ALS News

Rebalancing gut microbiome lengthens survival in mouse model of ALS

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO) - A bacterial by-product known to be important in maintaining gut health may slow the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS - a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine report that in a mouse model of ALS, the compound butyrate helped correct a gut microbiome imbalance and ...
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ALS Research News: Molecule Shows Potential For Preserving Sites of Communication Between Nerves and Muscles

(VIRGINIA TECH) According to a recent press release, researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have identified a naturally occurring molecule that has the potential for preserving sites of communication between nerves and muscles in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and over the course of aging -- as well as a molecule that interferes with this helpful process ...
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ALS News: Researchers Develop New Mouse Model of ALS Which May Provide Better Understanding of the Disease

(UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE) According to a recent press release, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive, fatal neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells controlling voluntary muscles. No effective treatments have been found ...
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Cedars Sinai Receives FDA Approval to Test ALS Combination Stem Cell Gene Therapy

(News Medical Life Sciences) According to a recent article in News Medical Life Sciences, Cedars-Sinai regenerative medicine investigators have received approval from the FDA to test a combination stem cell-gene therapy they developed to stall the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disease that causes progressive paralysis and ultimately death ...
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Researchers Identify how damage to hnRNP A2/B1 Protein Contributes to ALS

(Science Daily) According to a recent article published in Science Daily, even though only 10 percent of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases are hereditary, there are a significant number which are caused by mutations that affect proteins that bind RNA, a type of genetic material ...
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ALS End-Stage Brain Damage Study Shows Numerous Brain Regions Affected

(ALS News Today) According to a recent article published in ALS News Today, patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who have progressed to a stage in which they’ve lost all voluntary movements, including the ability to communicate, have damage in numerous brain regions and isn’t limited to motor neurons ...
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Oligodendrocytes From Familial and Sporadic ALS Patients Result in Motor Neuron Death

(Medical News Today) According to a recent study and article published in Medical News Today, pioneering research led by The University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom reveals that a type of cell in the central nervous system that usually supports motor neuron function can "go rogue" and destroy motor neurons in people with ALS ...
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New Findings May Help Lead to Prevention and Treatment Strategies for ALS SOD1 Mutations

(Medical News Today) According to a recently published article in Medical News Today, researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine have uncovered new findings which may help lead to prevention and treatment strategies for ALS SOD1 Mutations ...
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