What Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?

By Stephanie Watson @WatsonWriter
November 10, 2017

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis disease disrupts signals between nerve cells in your brain and spine. Learn, causes, symptoms, and prognosis.

Thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge and movies like The Theory of Everything, amytrophic lateral sclerosis disease, or ALS, has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. Yet you might wonder, what is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and how does it affect the people who have it?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is part of a group of rare neurological diseases that disrupt the connection between nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and the muscles they control. Nerve cells that direct voluntary muscle movements like walking, talking, and breathing are called motor neurons. Conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which affect these neurons, are called motor neuron diseases.

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was named after legendary baseball player, Lou Gehrig, who is believed to have died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1941.





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March 16, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA