Article |

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:  Insights From Genetics

Robert H. Brown Jr, Dphil, MD
Arch Neurol. 1997;54(10):1246-1250. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550220050013.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is among the most dire neurological diseases. The essential clinical feature of the disorder is relentless, lethal paralysis, usually beginning in midadult years. The disease is caused by a slow, progressive loss of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. It usually begins focally and then spreads. In most cases, there is concurrent involvement of corticospinal (upper) and spinal (lower) motor neurons, although in some instances the spinal motor neuron features predominate. Involvement of the spinal motor neurons produces muscle denervation of the affected muscles and fasciculations, followed by muscle atrophy. When corticospinal motor neurons degenerate, the weakness is accompanied by spasticity. The mean age at onset of ALS is 55 years; the mean duration is about 4 years. The incidence of new cases is approximately 1 per 100 000 population. The total number of cases is about 5 per 100 000 population. In the United States, it is estimated that there are 20 000 to 30 000 cases. About 10% of cases are inherited as an autosomal dominant trait1; familial and sporadic ALS are clinically indistinguishable.


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours





Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Submit a Comment


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.