FACTS ABOUT ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells and pathways in the brain and spinal cord.  When these cells die, voluntary muscle control and movement dies with them.  Patients in the later stages of the disease are totally paralyzed, yet in most cases, their minds remain sharp and alert.

  • ALS = amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Motor Neuron Disease (MND)
  • Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS in the US.
  • An estimated 30,000 people in the US have ALS; 450,000 worldwide.
  • ALS attacks nerve cells called motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, leading to weakness and eventual paralysis of all voluntary muscles, including those used for breathing and swallowing.
  • Most cases of ALS are sporadic, occuring in families without a history of the disease. Each case of ALS is different, which makes drug development challenging.
  • 50% of people survive 2 years or less. Currently, there is no cure or effective treatment.