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Medical history has been filled with an array of diseases and illnesses ranging from the common cold to deadly killers Some are easily treatable and others can be terminal but some of the worst are those that still remain without a cure one such disease is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is a degenerative disease affecting the human nervous system It is a deadly disease that cripples and kills its victims due to a breakdown in the bodys motor neurons Motor neurons are nerve cells in the brainstem and spinal cord that control muscle contractions In ALS these neurons deteriorate to a point that all movement including breathing halts Muscle weakness first develops in the muscles of body parts distant from the brain such as the hands and subsequently spreads through other muscle groups closer to the brain Such early symptoms as this however can hardly be noticed Early symptoms of ALS are very slight and often overlooked They begin as simple things such as tripping or dropping things Twitching or cramping of muscles and abnormal fatigue of the arms and legs may soon follow causing difficulty in daily activities such as walking or dressing In more advanced stages however shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing and swallowing ensue until the body is completely taken over by the disease Intellect eye motion bladder function and sensation are the only abilities spared Where and how this deadly disease originated is unknown but it was first identified in 1869 by the noted French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot ALS is not contagious but research is still vague on the cause of the disease Today there are three recognized forms of ALS genetic sporadic and Guamanian The genetic form of ALS appears to be inherited or passed down within a family and about ten percent of ALS patients have a family history of the disease An
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