Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) was first discovered in 1869. It was not until 1939 when Yankee baseball player, Lou Gehrig, was diagnosed with ALS and brought national and international attention to disease (hence the other common name, Lou Gehrig’s disease).
ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in which a person’s brain loses connection with the muscles. Due to the loss of brain to muscle connection, people with ALS lose their ability to walk, talk, and eventually breath.
There are three classifications of ALS. Sporadic ALS is the occurrence of ALS without a family history of the gene. Sporadic is the most common form and makes up 90-95% of all cases. Approximately 5-15% of all cases are Familial ALS, meaning that ALS occurs more than once in a family’s lineage. The rarest form of ALS in Guamanian which has occurred once in the 1950s.
On average, it takes about one year for a final ALS diagnosis to be made.