Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

It is a nervous system disease that attacks nerve cells called neurons in the brain and spinal cord. These neurons transmit messages from our brain and spinal cord to your voluntary muscles like our arms and legs. The disease usually develops between 40-60 age group especially in men and there is no confirmed cause or cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, both upper ( motor cortex of the brain) and lower motor neurons ( brainstem) are lost. The cause is mainly unknown but is believed to be caused due to:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Hereditary


  • Muscle weakness and atrophy
  • Muscle spasms
  • Inability to initiate and control all voluntary movement.
  • Behavioral dysfunction.
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Repeating phrases or gestures.
  • Language and executive dysfunction
  • Troubles with verbal memory
  • Emotional lability.
  • Slurred and nasal speech
  • Difficulty in speaking or swallowing


  • Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and signs the doctor observes and by asking the patient about medical history.
  • Electromyography
  • MRI


  • Riluzole medication is given to all to slow disease progression.
  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy is considered to stabilize body weight in patients with impaired oral intake.
  • Mechanical insufflation to clear secretions in patients with reduced cough flow
  • Non-invasive ventilation is done to treat respiratory insufficiency to prolong survival.
  • Invasive tracheostomy requiring tracheostomy in patients with respiratory failure.

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