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Why is ALS called Lou Gehrig's disease?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disease of the nervous system commonly called Lou Gehrig's Disease for the famous New York Yankee baseball player who died of ALS in 1941, according to the lesturnerals.org Web site.
ALS and other motor neuron diseases, according to the Web site for the Les Turner Foundation based in Skokie, result in progressive muscle weakness, atrophy and often spasticity, or excess muscle tone.
Most who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, although the disease can start at any age. Men are affected slightly more frequently than women.
More than 5,600 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year. Approximately 35,000 people at any given time are living with the disease in the United States.
It is likely there are several different causes of the disease. Two genes have been identified as causing familial ALS.
The causes of the sporadic form of ALS still are unknown.