What is Motor Neuron Disease(ALS)? Causes & Symptoms

Lou Gehrig's Disease

Motor neuron disease (MND) is a progressive disorder of the upper and lower motor neurons of the brain. This ends in muscle weakness, often with wasting of the muscles that are affected. It is likewise called ALS(Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)

ALS is inherited in 5 to ten percentage of instances. Sometimes there’s no acknowledged motive, different instances seem to occur randomly. This condition occurs in the ratio of 1.5:1 for males and females accordingly.

There are different terms which are used to describe the involvement at different levels, they are
Frontal dementia- percental gyrus
Pseudobulbar palsy- corticobulbar pathway
Progressive bulbar palsy- cranial nerve nuclei
Primary lateral sclerosis- corticospinal tract
Progressive muscular atrophy- anterior horn cell.

Possible causes of ALS consists of :

Gene mutation:

Various genetic mutations can lead to inherited ALS, which seems nearly identical to the non-inherited form. The gene for familiar ALS is localized to chromosome 21

Chemical imbalance:

People with ALS typically have better than normal tiers of glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain, across the nerve cells in their spinal fluid. Too an awful lot glutamate is understood to be poisonous to some nerve cells.

Disorganized immune response: Sometimes someone’s immune device starts attacking some of his or her frame’s own regular cells, which may also lead to the death of nerve cells.

  • Early signs and signs and symptoms of ALS consist of:
  • Weakness and wasting of the muscles asymmetrically
  • Difficulty taking walks, tripping or trouble doing your regular day by day sports
  • Weakness in your leg, feet or anklesHand weakness or clumsiness
  • Slurring of speech or trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and twitching on your fingers, shoulders, and tongue
  • Difficulty conserving your head up or maintaining a terrific posture
  • There will be an apparent weakness of the muscles of mastication and expression, therefore, the patient faces difficulty in chewing and has an expressionless face.
  • Spasticity is rare and muscle cramps are common.


Autosomal recessive disorder (hexosaminidase deficiency) may mimic ALS
EMG: this test reveals denervation along with fibrillation.
Nerve conduction studies
MRI scans or myelography.


Physical therapy helps to prevent pain developed from stiffer joints and also helps to prevent loss of motion. This therapy also helps patients with ALS to adapt themselves with their physical disabilities.

Exercises to increase Range of motion (ROM)

Help flow the joints through their full variety of motion. These ought to be accomplished actively, if possible, or passively if muscle weak spot limits movement. These ought to be achieved each day to prevent ache and stiffness.


Stretches should be done regularly which helps to prevent stiffness and pain which in turn decreases the intensity of muscle cramps.

Exercises To Increase Strength:

These types of exercises are not recommended. Muscles that are already affected by ALS will not get strengthened when exercised by using weights and may also lead to more weakness of the affected muscles.

Aerobic exercises:

Cardiovascular fitness can be increased by increasing endurance and muscle efficiency

Check out these links for relevant information: Neurological physiotherapy, paediatric neuro, Speech therapy, occupational therapy

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