Finding a cure begins with hope.
To those of you who are familiar with Stephen Hawking’s physical reality; ALS has recently become well-known with the famous bucket challenge. Yet it is much more than a fun campaign to donate for research.
ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease", firstly appeared in the 19th century. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body.
The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS
eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the
brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle
action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may
become totally paralyzed.
ALS contributes to a wide range of muscular, hormonal and blood disorders. While many patients were incorrectly diagnosed due to similarity in the symptoms caused by diabetes, syphilis and cervical tumors. It usually triggers the person in his middle age (30 to 60 years of age) and develops progressively towards death in a 5 years period, from the diagnosis date.
Some of the prominent symptoms include:
- Muscular weakness and atrophy
- Extremity stiffness and cramps
- Muscle fasciculation (mostly of the tongue and hands)
- Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
- Dysarthria or difficulty in speech articulation
What makes this disease curiously remarkable, is the complete conservation of intellectual functions, with total absence of sensory disorders. In addition to the unfortunate fact that ALS is not curable yet, and research hasn’t shown any progress due to its cause or source. However; many medical doctors are trying to find therapeutic solutions to ease the pain for the patients; by a ventilatory support therapy and speech therapy, dietetic manipulation and electro-mechanic communication systems.