What is ALS???? What are the symptoms and causes?

ALS, Kenneth Mitchell

ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis]: The Canadian actor Kenneth Mitchell, who starred in Star Trek: Discovery and Captain Marvel, passed away due to problems related to ALS.

In a message posted via his verified Instagram account, Mitchell, 49, said that he passed away on Saturday.


ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, its term stemming from the Greek and alluding to a wasting away of the muscles responsible for coordinating voluntary movement caused by a lack of nutrients, the fault of a genetic mutation.

As the ALS Association explains: “Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis eventually leads to their demise.

ALS, Kenneth Mitchell

“When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. When voluntary muscle action is progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.

“The motor nerves affected when you have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle control. Examples of voluntary movements are making the effort to reach for a smartphone or step off a curb. These actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs.”

ALS, Kenneth Mitchell

Early symptoms of the disease, according to the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS), include: muscle twitches in the arm, leg, shoulder or tongue; cramps; tight or stiff muscles; muscle weakness; slurred or nasal speech; and difficulty chewing and swallowing.

“The first sign of ALS usually appears in the hand or arm and can show as difficulty with simple tasks such as buttoning a shirt, writing, or turning a key in a lock,” the NINDS explains.

“In other cases, symptoms initially affect one leg. People experience awkwardness when walking or running, or they may trip or stumble more often.”

There is currently no cure for ALS but the US Food and Drug Administration has approved four drugs to treat the condition and ease the discomfort of sufferers: Riluzole, Nuedexta, Radicava and Tiglutik.

It was first discovered by French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in 1869 and is also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in memory of the celebrated New York Yankees baseman (1903-41) who also suffered from it.

The ALS Association reports that, in 90 per cent of cases of ALS, there is no family history of the genetic mutation that causes the disease and, in the 5-10 per cent of cases in which there is, only a 50 per cent possibility exists of its being passed on. FOR MORE DETAILS CILCK….

One thought on “What is ALS???? What are the symptoms and causes?

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