ALS Awareness

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region. 
ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and approximately 20,000 Americans can have the disease at any given time (although this number fluctuates). For unknown reasons, military veterans are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease than the general public.  Notable individuals who have been diagnosed with ALS include baseball great Lou Gehrig, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Toto bassist Mike Porcaro, Senator Jacob Javits, actor David Niven, “Sesame Street” creator Jon Stone, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, , musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter), photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, jazz musician Charles Mingus, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor, and NFL football players Steve Gleason, O.J. Brigance and Tim Shaw.

To find a Center near you, visit http://www.alsa.org/community/centers-clinics/.
*All content copyrighted by The ALS Association.

Our Mission

To support, assist, empower, and educate patients and families affected by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), and inspire the pursuit of treatment alternatives and research for a cure.

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