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All about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

What causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?

The symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are caused by the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. Normally, these neurons convey electrical messages from the brain to the muscles to stimulate movement in the arms, legs, trunk, neck, and head. As motor neurons die, the muscles cannot be moved as effectively, and weakness results. In addition, lack of stimulation leads to muscle wasting, or loss of bulk. Involvement of the upper motor neurons causes

spasms and increased tone in the limbs, and abnormal reflexes. Involvement of the lower motor neurons causes muscle wasting and twitching (fasciculations).

Although many causes of motor neuron degeneration have been suggested for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, none has yet been proven responsible. Results of recent research have implicated toxic molecular fragments known as free radicals. Some evidence suggests that a cascade of events leads to excess free radical production inside motor neurons, leading to their death. Why free radicals should be produced in excess amounts is unclear, as is whether this excess is the cause or the effect of other degenerative processes. Additional agents within this toxic cascade may include excessive levels of a neurotransmitter known as glutamate, which may overstimulate motor neurons, thereby increasing free-radical production, and a faulty detoxification enzyme known as SOD-1, for superoxide dismutase type 1. The actual pathway of destruction is not known, however, nor is the trigger for the rapid degeneration that marks ALS. Further research may show that other pathways are involved, perhaps ones even more important than this one. Autoimmune factors or premature aging may play some role, as could viral agents or environmental toxins.

More information on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive wasting away of certain nerve cells of the brain and spinal column called motor neurons.
What types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are there? - Two major types of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are known: familial and sporadic. Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis accounts for about 10% of all ALS cases.
What causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? - The symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are caused by the death of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain.
What're the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? - Initial symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis include slight weakness in one leg, one hand, the face, or the tongue.
How is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis begins with a complete medical history and physical exam, plus a neurological exam.
What's the treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis? - There is no cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Treatment focuses on keeping the person as strong and independent as possible.
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Triple Complex Sleep Tonic
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005