Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
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spinal cord lesions p. 548
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that affects both upper and lower motor neurons. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of these motor neurons leads to muscle weakness and atrophy.
ALS symptoms typically develop slowly over time. Early symptoms may include muscle weakness or stiffness, difficulty speaking, swallowing, or breathing. As the disease progresses, patients lose their ability to move and speak and eventually require total care. In some cases, people with ALS live for many years after diagnosis; however, most people with ALS die within a few years of diagnosis.
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