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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Other Names for this Disease
  • ALS
  • ALS1
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis type 1
  • Lou Gehrig disease
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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease," is a progressive motor neuron disease which leads to problems with muscle control and movement.[1][2] There are various types of ALS, which are distinguished by their signs and symptoms and their cause.[2] Early symptoms may include muscle twitching, cramping, stiffness, or weakness, eventually followed by slurred speech and difficulty chewing or swallowing (dysphagia). As the disease progresses, individuals become weaker are are eventually wheelchair-dependent. Death often results from respiratory failure within 2 to 10 years after the onset of symptoms. Most affected individuals have a sporadic (not inherited) form of ALS; about 5-10% have a familial (inherited) form of the condition. Familial ALS may caused by mutations in any one of several genes and the pattern of inheritance varies depending on the gene involved.[2] Treatment is generally supportive.[3]
Last updated: 1/7/2013


  1. Donkervoort S, Siddique T. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. GeneReviews . 2009; Accessed 4/12/2011.
  2. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Genetics Home Reference. August 2012; Accessed 1/7/2013.
  3. Nigel Leigh and Lokesh Wijesekera. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Orphanet. May 2011; Accessed 1/7/2012.
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Basic Information

  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
  • The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

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