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Discusses The Symptoms, Possible Treatments And Famous Cases Of Als

671 words - 3 pages

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a life threatening neurodegenerative disease. ALS occurs when specific nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. It could be a result of viral infections, Apoptosis (programmed cell death), trauma, and environmental toxins (Turner). The loss of these motor neurons causes the muscles under control to weaken and waste away leading to paralysis. ALS reveals itself in different ways depending on which muscles weaken first.ALS is characterized by weakness and thinning of the skeletal muscles of the body. When motor neurons die, the muscles are no longer nourished and weakness occurs (www.projectals.org). The disease generally begins with a gradual decline in strength. One day, the individual notices that something isn't right. Anything could be a signal: Perhaps the person stumbled while walking, had difficulty turning a key in a lock, or ...view middle of the document...

Though there is no known cure for ALS, there are many treatments and different drugs being tested. About thirty years ago, modified snake venom was proposed as a treatment for ALS. Many patients were treated because the scientists involved believed that the drug worked, though there was no proof that whether the drug was actually effective. Eventually, scientists discovered that the venom was no more effective than placebo control. Creatine has a positive affect on animal models of ALS. Creatine has been tested in ALS patients in scientifically conducted studies across the country, but results of this study won't be released for at least another year (Kaspar pgs 39-42). Interestingly enough, many doctors have found Marijuana to be a very successful treatment for ALS. Marijuana has many properties that are applicable to the management of ALS including analgesia, muscle relaxation, airway obstruction, saliva reduction, appetite stimulation, and sleep induction. In addition, marijuana has been shown to have strong anti-oxidative and neuroprotective effects that may prolong neuronal cell survival. Marijuana may also reduce pain sensation, likely through a brainstem circuit that also contributes to the pain-suppressing effects of morphine (Carter). There is also research concerning a population of adult stem cells in the muscle tissue play an important role in muscle regeneration. There are actually signals that can be sent to these stem cells to form new muscle offering people a way to postpone effects of diseases like ALS.The most famous case of ALS known is the case of Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player, and died from ALS. Gehrig was a superb ball player and he was also an incredible human being. Gehrig was modest, never flashy, and as a result he did not receive the attention that was bestowed on his colorful teammate, Babe Ruth. Gehrig was even tempered and well liked by baseball fans and the press. On June 2nd, 1941, Lou Gehrig died in New York from ALS (www.als.org).ALS is a life threatening disease that affects millions of people every year. It is one of the most distressing as well because there is no proven cure. It is still being researched and hopefully someday, scientists will find a way to cure this upsetting disease.

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