June is Brain Injury Awareness Month in Canada!
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is one among many common neurological conditions. ALS attacks the nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. These motor neurons degenerate and die, eventually leading to a loss of the ability to start and control any voluntary movements including swallowing. There is no known cure or cause for ALS; however the disease has been linked to a genetic defect in 1 out of 10 cases.
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Head drop due to weakness of the neck muscles
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle contractions called fasciculations
- Muscle weakness that slowly gets worse
- Speech problems, such as a slow or abnormal speech pattern (slurring of words)
- Voice changes, hoarseness
- Weight loss
For more information on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis check out the following titles available at the Toronto Public Library: