My assignment is to choose a medical diagnosis on a standard medical term. Then, write a four page essay written in layman's terms about the diagnosis. I chose ALS. I can give you a definition. ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. I can tell you what the acronym ALS stands for. It stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
I can break the word down, in medical terminlogy. (A-/without, Myo/muscle, -trophic/nourishment lateral/side sclerosis/hardening) It breaks down to a muscle without nourishment, the lateral side of the spinal cord hardening. I can also tell you that it is a disease, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, but none of these answers will provide an understanding of what this horrible disease really is and the physical and emotional effects it has on the person and family. My grandfather had always been that ship made of steel, the one that would never sink even with an iceberg ahead. For me, that iceberg was the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It all began with what seemed to be a simple sore throat that would not go away, and a twitch here and there in his legs. The stubborn man, that he was, refused to see a doctor, eventually he did. After several months of trial and error, misdiagnosis, MRI's, X-rays, a spinal tap, an EMG(electromyography), a muscle biopsy and many blood and urine evaluations, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS. So, now there was a proper diagnosis and an overwhelming sense of relief. Yay! Now that we knew what it was, we thought, let's fix this! I had no idea what this disease was, nor did the rest of my family.
After some research, and I do mean pamphlets, it turned out that the motor neurons from the brain to the spinal cord to all of the muscles in the body were degenerative. This made no sense.
I now know, that these motor neurons are little messengers that