Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: the Current World Situation
Keywords:Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Neurodegenerative Disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease ofÂ unknown cause that affects mainly the motor neurons of the spinal cord, brain stem and brain. The pathogenesis is still obscure andÂ the diagnosis is based on patient history and clinical examination. AÂ handful of factors have been proposed to be associated with ALS;however, the only established risk factors to date are older age, maleÂ sex, and a family history of ALS. The familial cases have their historical importance in causative gene identifiation since through theseÂ discoveries much has been uncovered about ALS pathogenesis. TheÂ understanding of clinical and epidemiological factors associated withÂ functional impairment is of fundamental for early adoption of measures to promote a better survival and a better quality of life. Rapid
diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurologicalÂ disorders is vital if future treatments are to be applied at an early disease stage. The current pace of discovery and identifiation of novelÂ disease mechanisms in ALS is unprecedented. Advances in this area,Â however, have also introduced challenges in the heterogeneity of diagnostic defiitions affecting this patient population.
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