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What is als? Home | the latest | thank you | what is als? | about aimee | fellow als patients | links | 350,000 stories | contact aimee | aimee's family | als activism | letters | my superman | walk4life 2006 | walk4life 2007 | walk4life 2008 | gala 2008 | your turn | aimee's writing | a day in the life... | an unforgettable ride | kids' corner | in the news als (lou gehrig's disease) q&a what is als? (the scientific answer) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als) is a progressive, degenerative disease of the nervous system. It is one of a group of diseases, called motor neuron diseases (mnd), in which specialized nerve cells that control movement of the voluntary muscles gradually cease functioning and die. These nerve cells, called motor neurons, carry impulses from the brain to the brainstem and the spinal cord. The impulses are then carried to the muscles. generic viagra online buy viagra cheap generic viagra cheap generic viagra cheap viagra viagra without a doctor prescription order viagra online cheap viagra online viagra for sale online pharmacy buy viagra from india The muscles respond to these messages by coordinated relaxation or contraction corresponding to willed movement. In als and other motor neuron diseases, motor neurons gradually deteriorate. Because the nerve cells that stimulate them have died, the muscle tissues waste away. This results in progressive muscle weakness, atrophy, and often spasticity, or excess muscle tone. Only the motor neurons are affected. Other nerve cells, such as sensory neurons that bring information from sense organs to the brain, remain healthy. Are there other names for als? Als, also known as motor neuron disease (mnd), is commonly called lou gehrig's disease for the famous new york yankee's baseball player who died of als in 1941. Als is sometimes referred to as charcot's disease for the french neurologist jean-martin charcot who identified the disease in 1869. Who gets als? Most who develop als are between 40 and 70 years of age, although the disease can strike at any age. Men are affected slightly more frequently than women. Als occurs throughout the world regardless of racial, ethnic or socioeconomic status. Some studies have identified areas that at certain times have appeared to have greater than expected numbers of cases. This has occurred in the past in the western pacific islands and in parts of japan and australia. Other areas in the continental united states have been reported but have not stood up to careful epidemiological investigations. How common is als? More than 5,600 americans are diagnosed with als each year or two new als cases per 100,000 people (incidence). Approximately 35,000 people at any given time are living with als in the united states or six to eight people per 100,000 population (prevalence). The incidence of als is close to that of multiple sclerosis and four times that of muscular dystrophy. What are the symptoms of als? Als strikes people in different ways and progression of the diseas.
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