Anatomy & Physiology
Disease Research Paper: Lou Gehrig’s Disease / ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a classified as a degenerative neurological disorder that inhibits motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain to function properly. This disease eventually results in paralysis and imminent death over a period of time. ALS patients have anywhere from a few months, to a couple years to live after diagnosis since their nervous systems are slowly destroyed, rendering the body useless, and sustaining life impossible. The nervous system is split up into two main organizations, the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the spinal cord and the brain and their vital function is to receive information from nerves throughout the body and transmit instructions. The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves scattered throughout the body and the intricate wiring that emits the instructions from the brain to the rest of the body to produce a response of some sort. There are different types of neurons found in the body, and they are considered to be the building blocks of the nervous system. With this being said, there are different types of neurons which associate with different aspects of life. Motor neurons, considered to be the largest of all nerve cells, extend from the brain to the spinal cord, then to the muscles throughout the body. Without these neurons hard at work and slowly dying, as with ALS, the brain is unable to control and produce movements with all muscles, therefore causing paralysis. After a prolonged period of time, since ALS only targets motor neurons, sensory neurons and other brain activity remain unaltered, thus leaving the patients’ minds fully intact, in other words, trapped in a seemingly lifeless body. For many years, no researcher or scientist could pinpoint an exact...
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