Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease of the nervous system that gets worse over time. It is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, after a baseball player who was famous in the 1920s and '30s and had to retire due to ALS. ALS belongs to a group of conditions called motor neuron diseases. Motor neurons are nerves. They run from your brain to your spinal cord and then to muscles throughout your body. ALS destroys motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, especially the ones that control muscles.(1,2,3)

Other condition names

  • ALS
  • Charcot disease
  • Lou Gehrig disease

Inheritance type

Autosomal dominant, Autosomal recessive, Not applicable


  • Europe: 1-9 in 100,000

Age of Onset

  • Adult
  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mayo Clinic. Available at Accessed 7/12/2022.

  2. Biography. The Iron Horse Lou Gehrig. Available at Accessed 7/12/2022.

  3. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Available at Accessed 7/12/2022.

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