Disease details

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease or Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive, fatal neurological disease. The disorder belongs to a class of disorders known as motor neuron diseases.

ALS occurs when specific nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. The loss of these motor neurons causes the muscles under their control to weaken and waste away, leading to paralysis.

ALS manifests itself in different ways, depending on which muscles weaken first. Symptoms may include tripping and falling, loss of motor control in hands and arms, difficulty speaking, swallowing and/or breathing, persistent fatigue, and twitching and cramping, sometimes quite severely. ALS strikes in mid-life. Men are about one-and-a-half times more likely to have the disease as women.

Latest ALS medical news

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Clinical trial shows some promise for Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug
The results of an international clinical trial, led in part by a UC Davis School of Medicine expert, have shown that a drug therapy for a severe type of muscular dystrophy holds promise for a...
Wed, 19 Jul 2017 06:00:00 PDT
New discovery in MND and dementia could pave the way to novel treatments
New discovery in motor neurone disease and dementia could pave the way to novel treatments.
Tue, 18 Jul 2017 00:00:00 PDT
New gene therapy treatment routes for motor neurone disease uncovered in new study
Scientists investigating the genetic causes and altered functioning of nerve cells in motor neurone disease (MND) have discovered a new mechanism that could lead to fresh treatment approaches for one...
Fri, 23 Jun 2017 00:00:00 PDT
What percentage of ALS is genetic?
Up to 90 percent of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) report that they have no family history of the disease.
Wed, 14 Jun 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Study shows drug lowers levels of biomarker linked to ALS
A new study finds that a decades-old drug used to treat malaria lowers levels of a biomarker linked to the inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Fri, 02 Jun 2017 00:00:00 PDT
One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
A detour on the road to regenerative medicine for people with muscular disorders is figuring out how to coax muscle stem cells to fuse together and form functioning skeletal muscle tissues.
Wed, 31 May 2017 06:00:00 PDT
Motor neuron disease discovery offers new insights into potential treatment targets
Scientists have discovered how certain forms of motor neuron disease begin and progress at cellular and molecular levels, revealing potential new ways to slow down or even stop this process.
Fri, 19 May 2017 09:00:00 PDT
MS vs. ALS: Differences, causes, and treatment
MS and ALS both affect the central nervous system, but in different ways. Learn about the key differences between the two, specific symptoms, and outlook.
Thu, 18 May 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Weekly steroids strengthen and repair muscles
Weekly doses of glucocorticoid steroids, such as prednisone, help speed recovery in muscle injuries, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.
Tue, 09 May 2017 00:00:00 PDT
FDA approves drug to treat ALS
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves Radicava (edaravone) to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Fri, 14 Apr 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Gene silencing shows promise for treating two fatal neurological disorders
In two studies of mice, researchers showed that a drug, engineered to combat the gene that causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), might also be used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis...
Fri, 31 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PDT
A new marker for the most common form of ALS
A molecule found in blood and cerebrospinal fluid could serve as an indicator for the most common form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), offering a much needed tool to measure disease...
Thu, 30 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Occupational exposure to magnetic fields increases risk of ALS
A new study finds that high exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields through work significantly increases the risk of dying from ALS.
Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PDT
'Groundbreaking' technology enables quadriplegic man to move his limbs
Using neuroprosthetic technology, scientists have enabled a man who had been quadriplegic for 8 years to move his limbs and perform daily tasks.
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Scientists discover shared genetic origin for ALS/MND and schizophrenia
Researchers have shown for the first time that Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and schizophrenia have a shared genetic origin, indicating that the...
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Researchers identify potential treatment for type of muscle and brain degenerative disease
UCLA researchers have discovered the molecular basis of, and identified potential treatment for, an incurable disease known as inclusion body myopathy, Paget disease with frontotemporal dementia...
Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 PDT
New toxic pathway identified for protein aggregates in neurodegenerative disease
Led by professor Ludo Van Den Bosch (VIB-KU Leuven), scientists from Belgium, the UK and the US have identified new processes that form protein "clumps" that are characteristic of amyotrophic...
Wed, 08 Mar 2017 09:00:00 PDT
Caffeine may ward off dementia by boosting protective enzyme
Researchers have uncovered a number of compounds - including caffeine - that boost production of the enzyme NMNAT2, which may protect against dementia.
Tue, 07 Mar 2017 08:00:00 PDT
Red wine compound found to slow down neural aging in mice
New study shows that resveratrol reduces age-induced deterioration of neuromuscular synapses in mice. Anti-diabetes drug may also slow down muscular aging.
Thu, 02 Mar 2017 06:00:00 PDT
Molecular structure of the cell nucleoskeleton revealed for the first time
Using 3D electron microscopy, structural biologists from the University of Zurich succeeded in elucidating the architecture of the lamina of the cell nucleus at molecular resolution for the first...
Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Meditation benefits patients with ALS
An eight-week mindfulness-based meditation program led to improved quality of life and psychological well-being in clinical trial of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Children of patients with C9orf72 mutations are at a greater risk of frontotemporal dementia or ALS at a younger age
The most common genetic cause of the brain diseases frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a mutation in the C9orf72 gene.
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Dietary supplement could improve heart health
Dietary intervention could benefit heart health in those with muscular dystrophy. That's according to new research published in Experimental Physiology.
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 PDT
Researchers show how Lou Gehrig's disease progression could be delayed
A team of biomedical scientists has identified a molecule that targets a gene known to play a critical role in the rapid progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes known as Lou...
Fri, 10 Feb 2017 07:00:00 PDT
Gene discovery suggests new type of congenital muscular dystrophy
New study finds that mutations in INPP5K gene cause a new type of congenital muscular dystrophy with short stature, cataracts, and intellectual disability.