ALS typically starts with asymmetric weakness in one or more limbs, progressing to all extremities, resulting in muscle atrophy leading eventually to complete paralysis, respiratory failure, and death usually within five years. It is estimated that as many as 350,000 individuals worldwide and 30,000-40,000 in the U.S. are afflicted with the disease, which is the most prevalent form of motor atrophy and dysfunction. ALS is particularly devastating because mental function is generally not compromised while the use of the legs and arms deteriorates, followed most commonly by respiratory failure as the cause of death. Most ALS cases involve the sporadic (sALS), late-onset form of the disease where initiation of symptoms occurs between 50 and 70 years of age.
Links About ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Therapeutic Development Institute: www.als.net
ALS Association: www.alsa.org
Information on Lou Gehrig, along with ALS-related material: www.lougehrig.com
ALS portion of the Muscular Dystrophy Association: www.als-mda.org