How do I get ALS?

The Etiology Of ALS

Since the 1960s, there were several theories written about the etiology or possible causes for Lou Gehrig's disease. In 1875, Charcot put forth the possibility of the poliovirus being responsible for these symptoms. This was debated until 1907, when Wilson raised the theory of an environmental cause, such as lead poisoning causing ALS. Increased levels of aluminum, manganese, and mercury, and decreased levels of calcium and magnesium were also suspected. Since Wilson's first theory was made, it was discovered lead causes pseudo-ALS symptoms, which are reversible.

Even though it was believed the environment was the sole cause for ALS, instead it is now thought ALS might result from general causes, such as an altered immune system, dietary deficiency, toxicity, vascular disease, physical injury, and inflammatory conditions. Examples of other possible causes include antibodies manufactured against neurons, structural defects in the membranes of neurons, enzyme deficiencies, syphilis, prior surgery and malignancy. So trace metal toxicity is not the sole underlying cause for this disease.

In 1993, it was announced a link was discovered in one form of ALS. Scientists in North America were able to isolate a genetic mutation on chromosome 21, which causes 15 to 20 percent of familial ALS cases.

Afterwards in 1995, another possible cause was found. A glutamate transporter protein deficiency was discovered in the brain and spinal cord of some ALS patients.

Even though we now know ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, the main cause for the disease is unknown, many scientists believe the causes for ALS are multifactorial.

ALS Frequently Asked Questions

Has there been a lot of research completed on ALS?

My doctor has prescribed Rilutek. How does this drug function?

Has the ALS Association funded any research?

Can you provide more details about TREAT ALS?

Should I consider participating in ALS Research?

How does Phase III clinical research trials differ from Phase I and Phase II?

Which centers are working on ALS research?

Has research been previously completed on ALS?

Are there any upcoming trials to look forward to?

Help me find information on ALS Research?

Which diseases are the differential diagnosis for ALS?

I have been feeling weaknes in my body. Could it be ALS?

I have been referred to a neurologist. What can I expect during this visit?

How important is the neurological exam in diagnosing ALS?

Which laboratory tests are necessary to diagnose ALS?

Will a blood test be taken?

I am scheduled for a CSF analysis. What does this test mean?

Why did the neurologist schedule an MRI for me?

I have heard an Electromyography is important in diagnosing ALS. Can you explain it a little more?

I wonder if bone cancer is causing my symptoms?

Are there more than one form of ALS?

Tell me more about Sporadic ALS? How common is it?

What are many chances of getting ALS if my dad or mom had it?

Is Guamanian ALS only located in Guam?

How do the different forms of ALS differ?

Who first made wrote details on ALS?

What are the incidence and prevalence rates of ALS?

Is ALS known as any other names?

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?

How do I get ALS?

What symptoms can I expect during the early stages of this disease?

I developed muscle weakness and was later diagnosed with ALS. Is it commmon to feel this weak?

What are motor neurons?

What symptoms can I expect with upper motor neuron involvement?

What symptoms can I expect with lower motor neuron involvement?

Can I expect any other symptoms as I battle ALS?

Which symptoms am I not likely to experience with ALS?

What is the difference between Limb-onset ALS versus Bulbar-onset ALS?

"Spastic bulbar palsy" sounds complicated. What is it exactly?

What can I expect during the end stages of ALS?

Is there a cure for ALS?

Is Rilutek the only medication used in ALS?

Will I benefit from physical therapy as an ALS patient?

Is occupational therapy necessary when diagnosed with ALS?

I am noticing problems with my speech. Can a speech pathologist help me?

My father who has ALS has stopped eating large meals. What do I do?

I have just been diagnosed with ALS and need to talk to someone. Who do I talk to?

I have heard I will develop problems with breathing. Which type of doctor do I see?

I am a caregiver who needs extra help taking care of my loved one. Should I consider Home Health Care nursing?

What is the purpose of the ALS C.A.R.E. database?

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Lynne Christen