Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Are you a Doctor House fan, or perhaps a Gray’s Anatomy fanatic? If you have seen a couple of those movie series, then probably you’ve encountered some of the characters in the movie mentioning ALS. What is ALS? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a chronic progressively debilitating disease – also known as Lou Gehrig disease, which is the most common form of motor neuron disease causing muscular atrophy. This usually occurs to ages between 40 and 60, and twice as common in men than in women.

ALS progressively destroys upper and lower neurons including anterior horn cells of the spinal cord, upper motor neurons of the cerebral cortex, and the motor nuclei of the brain.

How does ALS happen?

  • ALS may begin when glutamate accumulates to toxic levels at synapses 
  • Affected motor units are no longer innervated 
  • Progressive degeneration of axons causes loss of myelin 
  • Non-functional scar tissue replaces normal neuronal tissue 
  • Denervation leads to muscle fiber atrophy and motor neuron degeneration.
Note: Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter of central nervous system.

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