Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles No doubt you’ve already heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge and maybe you’ve participated too But what do you know about the disease behind this challenge, known as ALS or MND? ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a motor neuron disease, and therefore in some countries better known as “MND”. In the US, the disease is also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease”, after a famous baseball player who died of ALS. ALS is a neurologic disorder that causes increasing muscle weakness and eventually paralysis, which, in most cases, is fatal. Our brain sends signals through our nervous system to make our muscles move. ALS affects the motor neurons that carry these signals: the neurons in the brain and the spinal cord degenerate and die, causing the muscles to gradually weaken and the brain to lose control over voluntary muscle movement. This leads to all sorts of problems, such as increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and even breathing. ALS is an irreversible and progressive disease. Patients usually die within 3 to 5 years after diagnosis, primarily due to failure of the respiratory muscles. Each year, 1 to 2 people per 100 000 are diagnosed with ALS. Scientists don’t know yet how or why the disease develops and unfortunately there is no cure or treatment today. It is currently only possible to slow down the progression of the disease. In other words, a lot of money is needed to fund ALS research. So, when you pour a bucket of ice water over your head, don’t forget to also make a donation!