What is ALS?
The purpose of the Facebook ice bucket challenge is to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a degenerative nervous disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The condition causes motor neurons to die which eventually slows down muscle movement until the patient is paralyzed or dead. ALS disease can first be discovered with muscle weakness, affecting speech, swallowing, breathing or the movement of limbs.
A limp arm or leg is a common early symptom of the illness. The cause of ALS is still a mystery and there is no known cure or treatment to prevent or combat the condition.
However, there is an FDA-approved drug (riluzole) and a number of drugs in clinical trials that slows the progression of ALS.