Essay on Als : A Type Of Motor Neuron Disease

1081 Words Nov 14th, 2015 null Page
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a type of motor neuron disease that causes nerve cells to gradually break down and die. ALS is often called Lou Gehrig 's disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it. ALS affects your ability to control the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. ALS can 't be cured and eventually will lead to death. (Mayo Clinic, 2015)
ALS is diagnosed through a comprehensive diagnostic workup which includes multiple testing to rule out all other diseases. Testing includes:
• Electro-diagnostic tests including electromyography and nerve conduction velocity
• Blood and urine studies including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals
• Spinal tap
• X-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging
• Myelogram of cervical spine
• Muscle and/or nerve biopsy
• A thorough neurological examination
These tests are done at the physician’s discretion, and not all tests may need to be done. Since there are other diseases that can have similar symptoms as ALS, this is done to rule them out. (ALSA, 2015)
There is no cure for ALS but the FDA has approved a medication called riluzole, which is believed to reduce damage to motor neurons by decreasing the release of glutamate. Clinical trials with ALS patients showed that riluzole prolongs survival by several months, mainly in those with difficulty swallowing. The drug also extends the time before an…

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