Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a motor neurone disease is is better knowen as Lou Gehrig's disease in North America.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also referred to as motor neurone disease in some British Commonwealth countries and as Lou Gehrig's disease in North America is a debilitating disease with varied etiology characterized by rapidly progressive weakness, muscle atrophy and fasciculations, muscle spasticity, difficulty speaking (dysarthria), difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), and decline in breathing ability. ALS is the most common of the five motor neuron diseases. The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body caused by degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons. Unable to function, the muscles weaken and atrophy. Affected individuals may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel sphincters and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually, but not always, spared. Cognitive function is generally spared for most patients, although some (about 5%) also have frontotemporal dementia.
Contributions by PaulWicks, Ravedave, and Ian Goddard.