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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig

             Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ("ALS").
             Because ALS selectively destroys the motor neurons in the nervous system, several hypotheses have been put forth as to the cause or perhaps causes of ALS. Scientists are exploring such areas as genetic factors, susceptibility genes, excitotoxicity, and premature cell death.
             Areas of the Body and Nervous System Affected.
             ALS affects muscles anywhere throughout the human body from head to toe. This horrible incurable disease has a tendency to start at the hands and feet and work it's way towards the center of the body. ALS works by gradually destroying the nerves that control the muscles. ALS develops when certain nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord degenerate (break down) and die. Weakness, paralysis and eventually death are all results of this disease. .
             All of the forms of ALS cause progressive Muscle weakness and degeneration. In most patients spontaneous muscle twitching occurs, called fasciculation's. Lower extremity usually follows the degeneration of arms, hands and shoulders. Spastistic muscles can be present. Approximately one-third of patients will become aware of the disease when their hands become clumsy, which causes difficulty in the performance of fine tasks. Another third might experience weakness in the legs and may trip because of a mild foot drop. The remaining one-third notice their speech slowing down or difficulty in swallowing. Someone who has ALS may have had it for quite a while before the first symptoms appear. This occurs because the lost or damaged nerve cells are compensated for by nerve cells that remain functioning. One of the more early symptoms is fatigue. As muscles deteriorate, patience may experience stiffness or occasional jerking of the arms or legs resulting from muscle tenseness. Usually symptoms begin in the hands and feet, then travel inward towards the center of your body. In most cases one side is usually affected more than the other.

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