Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

May 25 Webinar Focuses on Newly Diagnosed

Every day in the United States, about 13 people receive a diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

That’s 5,000 Americans a year who are new to this disease. MDA's ALS Division wants to reach out to these people and their families, encourage and support them, and most importantly, let them know they’re not alone.

ALS Research Briefs

NurOwn stem cell therapy trial set to begin

Biotechnology company Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics announced May 17, 2011, that it has received approval from Israel's Ministry of Health to conduct a phase 1-2 clinical trial of stem cell therapy in adults with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease).

FUS and ALS: What's the Connection?

 The gene for FUS  was associated in 2009 with some forms of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Now, overlapping findings from four recent studies have revealed tantalizing clues about the molecular underpinnings of FUS-related forms of the disease.

Clinical Trials

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Clinical Trials


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Research

Intense research is being conducted in many areas related to ALS, from basic science seeking the roots of the disease, to therapy development to find effective treatments.

Since inception, MDA has dedicated over $344 million to ALS research and health care services. In the past five years alone, MDA has spent over $46 million toward ALS research.

Medical Management

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Medical Management

Medical interventions and technology have vastly improved the quality of life for people with ALS by assisting with breathing, nutrition, mobility and communication. Proper management of symptoms, and proactive use of medical interventions and equipment can make a positive difference in day-to-day living, and potentially may lengthen survival.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Causes/Inheritance

About 5 to 10 percent of ALS is familial — meaning it arises in families in which there is a history of ALS. Several genes associated with ALS have been identified or at least mapped to a specific region of a chromosome.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Diagnosis

There are some specific criteria for the diagnosis of ALS known as the El Escorial criteria. (They're named after a conference center in Spain, where they were developed in 1990.)

According to the El Escorial criteria, a diagnosis of ALS requires the following:

Signs and Symptoms

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - Signs and Symptoms

Motor neurons in the body
Upper motor neurons normally send signals to lower motor neurons, which send signals to muscles. In ALS, both upper and lower motor neurons are lost.