b. Causes of ALS. The cause of the disease is not known specifically. What is
known is that the disease produces muscular atrophy through degeneration of the motor
cells in the spinal cord and the medulla. The disease usually occurs in the 50 to 70 age
c. Signs/Symptoms of ALS. The disease is characterized by progressive
muscular weakness. Aching pain and emotional outbursts are also signs and
symptoms of ALS.
d. Treatment of ALS. Presently, no effective treatment for ALS exists. The
aims of managing the disease are to provide emotional, psychological, and physical
support and to control the patient's symptoms.
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)
a. Definition of Multiple Sclerosis. This is a chronic, progressive disease
characterized by demyelination (destruction or loss of myelin from the sheath of a
nerve) of the white matter of the brain and the spinal cord. (Myelin is a fatty substance
that is a major part of the sheath that protects the axon of some nerve cells.)
b. Cause of Multiple Sclerosis. There are theories about what causes MS, but
the exact cause of the disease is not known. The disease is more prevalent in cool
climates. Young adults between 20 and 40 years of age are more affected by MS than
people in other age groups.
c. Signs/Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. Signs and symptoms do not have
a predictable pattern. They may last for hours or weeks, or come and go. The disease
is characterized by remission and then weakness of the extremities, incontinence, and
Charcot's triad. Signs and symptoms of Charcot's triad include nystagmus (involuntary
movement of the eyes), tremor, or scanning speech. Other signs and symptoms of MS
include the following:
Ataxia (failure or irregularity of muscular coordination).
Impaired pain and temperature sensation.
Elevated gamma globulin in the cerebrospinal fluid.
d. Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. There is no specific therapy for this
disease. Steroids, however, offer temporary benefit. Treatment for the condition
requires symptomatic general care.