Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the formal name for the neurological disorder that is better known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig's disease. In many other nations it is called Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
The symptoms of this progressively destructive disease are muscle stiffness, muscular twitching, weakness due to muscular deterioration that leads to problems with speaking, swallowing and breathing. The disease progresses through the death of neurons that control voluntary activity.
Although an estimated 5-10% of cases are due to genetic factors, the other 90-95% are the result of unknown causes. Normally the disease first appears between ages 50 and 60, with a survival rate of 3-4 years after the first appearance of symptoms. There is currently no cure.