Health: ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease that affects nerves in the brain and in the spinal cord. This disease is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the famous American baseball player, Henry “Lou” Gehrig. Gehrig died from the disease at the young age of 37. Gehrig’s baseball career was cut short by ALS; the disease was so powerful that it made him retire earlier than anyone at the time would have imagined. Specifically, ALS affects the motor neurons. Motor neurons run from the brain to the spinal cord to muscles throughout the body. These neurons are specifically used for voluntary muscle movements. The disease then causes the motor neurons to degenerate progressively, and ultimately, the motor neurons die. The brain can no longer trigger and control muscle movements after the motor neurons die. Muscles become weaker and start to break down, which lead to Gehrig’s physical inability to continue playing baseball. Sadly, this all leads to many people with ALS ending up completely paralyzed. Since Gehrig’s death, there have been many strides made toward researching ALS and hopefully, finding a cure one day.

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