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  • No doubt youve already heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge

  • and maybe youve 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 asMND”.

  • In the US, the disease is also known asLou 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!

No doubt youve already heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge

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