Running Head: AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:
A Progressive Neurodegenerative Disease
Three variants of ALS are generally accepted, including the western Pacific type (Guamanian), familial and sporadic (Rosenfeld & Strong, 2002).
The western Pacific type is often associated with dementia and increased prevalence occurring in Guam and other Pacific territories. Familial (fALS) is inherited and accounts for 5 to 10% of all cases. The sporadic form (sALS) is most common, accounting for 90 to 95 % of all cases, in which there are no apparent risk factors and the disease appears at random. With these three types of ALS, the familial and sporadic forms are most commonly referred to in research.
The disease doesn’t usually affect cognitive abilities, but patients diagnosed with ALS become aware of their progressive loss of function and can report neuropsychiatric symptoms of anxiety, apathy, disinhibition and depression (Grossman, Woolley-Levine, Bradley& Miller 2007).
These changes can be characterized by decreased initiation of conversation, lack of motivation and behavioral abnormalities. It is still unclear if these changes are attributable to depression or just the disease itself.
Although there is no cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, these findings have lead to the development of Riluzole, the first FDA approved drug for treatment of ALS. Riluzole works by decreasing the release of glutamate, which in turn reduces the damage to motor neurons. It cannot not reverse the damage already done, and isn’t meant to stop or cure the disease. Its main effect is to prolong the lives of patients with ALS by slowing down the degeneration of motor neurons.
... ne-Poulenc Rorer. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, (also known as ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Motor Neuron Disease, Charcot's Disease), is a neurological disease affecting the ... ALS. It may affect anyone, anywhere. "Familial" ALS suggests the disease is inherited, although no heredity pattern exists ... forms of ALS are "Sporadic" and "Familial." The most common type is "Sporadic ALS," accounting for over ...
In the early stages, patients are often fine living without assisted help. But as the disease progresses they will eventually need aid in many daily functions. As chewing becomes difficult they can seek help from nutritionists on how to plan and prepare meals throughout the day they can safely eat while providing sufficient calories and nutrients. They also might need help from speech therapists in strategies to help them speak louder and more clearly.
When breathing becomes difficult, the use of nocturnal ventilator assistance may be used to aid breathing during sleep. The use of respirators is another form to aid in the assistance of breathing. Though these devices will help prolong survival, they do not affect the progression of the disease. Considerations about cost and life without movement should be considered before making a decision.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affects thousands of people each year. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with a unique characteristic of affecting both the upper and lower motor neurons. As muscle weakness, muscle twitching or spasms signify the onset, the disease will eventually take its course and spread throughout the body, eventually leaving the patient bed ridden with paralysis and trouble breathing. The course of the disease varies among individuals, as well as how the disease affects them. Even though the disease may affect each person differently, the outcome is usually 100% fatal. Death due to respiratory failure usually follows on average two to four years after the onset.
There have been advances towards this disease which help prolong the life of patients. Riluzoleis the first FDA approved drug for ALS and can help prolong the lives of patients on average by two to three months. The only problem is the drug only slows the progression of motor neuron degeneration. Respirators are also an option to prolong the life of patients, but as the patients live longer, the disease still progresses and they remain bed ridden.
ALS is actually Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, but it is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. It comes from greek words meaning: A-without; Myo-muscle; Trophic-nourishment; Lateral-side ... ALS. ALS does not affect the mind. Mental acuity remains sharp. In most cases, even when the patient is totally paralyzed, the ...
If advances can be made in identifying a reliable biological marker for ALS shared by all patients, early detection and diagnoses could be made, which would not only prolong survival rates, it would allow for the development of new therapies and medications.
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Strong, M. (2002).
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Strong, M., & Rosenfeld, J. (2003).
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A review of current concepts. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis & Other Motor Neuron Disorders, 4(3), 136. http://search.ebscohost.com