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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a motor neuron disease, which affects the lower areas of the brain and spinal cord, and these areas are responsible for controlling the skeletal muscles within the body. ALS causes the upper and lower motor nerve cells, also called neurons, to deteriorate and die. The motor neurons are responsible for controlling body movements, and as the cells die, the brain and the rest of the nervous system loses the ability to control the muscles which move these different areas.
The actual phrase “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis" can be broken down into its simple meaning. “Amyotrophic” refers to the muscle wasting in the disease. “Lateral” refers to nerve cell location in the spinal cord, whereas “Sclerosis” is used to describe how the spinal cord will undergo thickening of its tissue.
It should be stated ALS is not contagious like the common cold. It does not cause any changes in intelligence. People diagnosed with ALS will typically retain their clarity of mind along with all the five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight.