Figure 1- Lou Gehrig played baseball for the New York Yankees 1925-1939. His career was cut short by ALS. Permission to use this picture has been requested from www.baberuth.com.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive, fatal neurological motor neuron disease affecting as many as 20,000 Americans with 5,000 new cases occurring in the United States each year. 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, eventually leading to paralysis. 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.
Types of denervation in nerve muscle
Figure 2- a) H& E stain and b) ATPase stain (pH 4.3) of atrophic muscle fibers. Permission to use these images has been requested from
Yale Neuromuscular Program
Baylor College of Medicine MDA/ALS Clinic
World Federation of Neurology ALS
ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) -
Doctor's Guide to the Internet
Click crazy rat to link to background info about ALS.
To learn more about the genetics of ALS, click Garfield.
Adams, R. D., Victor, M., & Ropper, A. H., eds. (1997). Principles of neurology. (6th ed., pp.1089-1094). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Gurney, M. E., Pu, H., Chiu, A. Y., et al. (1994). Motor neuron degeneration in mice that express a human Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase mutation. Science, 264, 1772-1775.
Rowland, L. P. (1991). Ten central themes in a decade of ALS research. Advances in Neurology, 56, 3-23.
Salazar Grueso, E. F., & Roos, R. P. (1995). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and viruses. Clinical Neuroscience, 3, 360-367.
Walton, J. N., ed. (1993). Brain diseases of
the nervous ystem. (10th ed., pp. 443-449). New York: Oxford
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Last updated 4/15/00