Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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ALS Overview

Another name for ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
A person with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has worsening muscle weakness, caused by a malfunction in the nerves that stimulate the muscles to move. The cause for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is unknown, but may be related to a gene mutation. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis gradually destroys the nerves that stimulate the muscles to move.

What are the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
Early symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis include muscle spasms, muscle twitching, and muscle weakness. Later symptoms include clumsiness, difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking, and difficulty walking.

How does the doctor treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis?
Treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis includes medications that reduce the progression of muscle weakness and medications to control muscle spasms.

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Last Updated: Nov 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed ALS References
  1. Brooks BR. El Escorial World Federation of Neurology criteria for the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Subcommittee on Motor Neuron Diseases/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis of the World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Neuromuscular Diseases J Neurol Sci 1994; 124: 96-107. [7807156]
  2. Brown RC, Lockwood AH, Sonawane BR. Neurodegenerative diseases: an overview of environmental risk factors. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Sep;113(9):1250-6. [16140637]
  3. Waragai M: MRI and clinical features in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neuroradiology 1997; 39: 847-851. [9457707]
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