Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963954 | Print ISBN: 9781412959087 | Online ISBN: 9781412963954| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Steven T. Chen
AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurological disease that affects the motor neurons. There is no definitive test for the diagnosis of ALS, so it is one of exclusion, relying on signs and symptoms that pertain to dysfunction in both upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). There is only one treatment regularly used for the treatment of ALS, but it is not a cure. In general, ALS is diagnosed later than other disease processes in part because of the vague symptoms it can generate and also the time it takes for the physician to rule out other causes. The ultimate cause of death in ALS patients is the loss of muscle strength to properly breathe. The potential for stem cell research in playing a role in ALS treatment lies in the possibility of regenerating dead or dying motor neurons in Most ...