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Doctor insights on: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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Just heard a close neighbor has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. How do we explain this condition to the kids?

Just heard a close neighbor has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. How do we explain this condition to the kids?

Weakness: I would explain that it means he will get weak over time, may eventually need a wheelchair, and that his doctors will do everything they can to help him. I would tell them they can't catch it from him, and it is a rare condition, so it is unlikely they or their family members would develop it. ...Read more

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Dr. Steven Bowers
530 doctors shared insights

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig Disease) (Definition)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a disorder of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that play a role in controlling voluntary muscle movement. While few cases may be due to a genetic defect, the cause is usually unknown. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, and voice changes. ...Read more


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What are the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

What are the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

See below: The main symptoms of ALS are weakness. The weakness often starts with one hand and then may progress to the other. The legs will often become weak as well. The muscles begin to get thinner. This is called atrophy. There may also be exaggerated reflexes and stiffness in the muscles called spasticity. The muscles that help us speak and swallow and breath can also be weakened. ...Read more

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I'm having hard time swallowing, can this be a sign of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

Unlikely: While dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) can be a herald of als, this is a very, very rare disease, and dysphagia is a common symptom. Depending on your age, what you have trouble swallowing, and other medical issues you have, there are a host of potential causes for dysphagia. See your physician and discuss it with him/her, include what is hard to swallow, when, when it started. Good luck. ...Read more

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What are the tests for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

Diagnosis: Since we hope to find alternative problems instead of als, we search for possible other diagnoses. The testing includes blood studies, especially for hyperthyroidism, MRI tests of the neck and spinal cord, EMG studies, and even muscle biopsies on occasion. ...Read more

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Can prenatal screening tell you if your baby will have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

Rarely: Rare families have a genetic form of ALS that involves the gene for superoxide dismutase or other genes. More commonly, ALS occurs sporadically in families with multiple gene and environmental factors and cannot be tested for in advance of symptoms. ...Read more

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What are the main causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? What can be done to treat it?

See below: We really do not understand the cause, but 10% are genetic and 25% of these are associated with mutations of a gene encoding copper/zinc superoxide dismutase. 90% are sporadic and of no clear causation. There is no cure and control measures are mediocre. The drug Riluzole may delay need to respirator, but most treatments are palliative. ...Read more

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What does it mean when a guy has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

Degenrative DO: Als is a neurologic disease where nerves in the central nervous system degenerate, leading to weakness. This can cause inability to walk or use the hands or arms, facial weakness, difficulty eating and swallowing, and respiratory difficulties, leading to infections like pneumonia. It is not a curable disease. ...Read more

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What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als)? Can it be treated?

Lou Gehrig's disease: Als is a disease affecting the nerve cell body, causes weakness, muscle wasting, and fasciculations or fluttering of the muscles. It can affect mobility, swallowing, and breathing. There is no known cure to date, and the prognosis is often very poor. We believe it is a disorder of "misfolded proteins", similar in some ways to alzheimer's and parkinson's, but a far rarer condition, fortunately. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

What is the treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

Not good: Lou gehrig's disease remains resistant to successful treatment or control. The drug Riluzole is on the market but is very disappointing, although may delay useage of a tracheostomy tube for a few months. We are learning about a misfolded protein, and this may point the way for future success. ...Read more

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What's are future treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als)?

Hope it arrives.: There is a lot of research and we have identified a misfolded protein as playing a role (superoxide dismutase). But we do not have a cure. Best we can do is Riluzole and palliative supportive care at this time. However, a variety of meds and approaches are being studied. Stayed tuned. ...Read more

Sclerosis (Definition)

We neurologists employ the term to describe localized damage involving the central nervous system, and sclerosis means scarring. If in many areas, might be multiple sclerosis. If affecting the motor nerve cell, ...Read more