WHAT IS

WHAT ARE ALS AND MS:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting particular brain nerve cells and spinal cord that allow voluntary muscle movements, called motoneurons. These ones suffer a degeneration that leads to death over the course of months or years.

There are two types of motoneurons: the first one, the cortical motoneuron, is located in the cerebral cortex and carries the nervous signal from the brain to the spinal cord. The second one is instead made of nerve cells that carry the signal from the trunk of the brain and the spinal cord to the muscles.

Disease occurs when the progressive loss of motor neurons exceeds the compensating capacity of the surviving motoneurons until a progressive loss of muscle strength occurs; In many instances, however, the cognitive, sensory, sexual, and physiological functions have been spared. There’s only a minority of cases where there may be concurrent cognitive abnormalities, mostly of mildness and predominantly characterized by behavioral alterations rather than impairment of memory or language.

In practice, there is a dramatic situation: the mind keeps being vigilant in a body that becomes motionless.

The causes of the disease are still unknown, although in recent years predisposing genetic factors have been recognized, which along with environmental factors can determine the development of the disease.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is also a progressive chronic disease that affects the nervous system. The disease causes the destruction of the myelin sheath covering the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. This destructive process is called demyelination.

Myelin allows the transmission of impulses between the brain and the most peripheral parts of the body, but when it is damaged or destroyed the transmission is compromised and regions defined “plaques” or “lesions” are formed, which are nothing but scars damaged fabric.

In multiple sclerosis these lesions appear in different times and in different areas of the brain and brain marrow, and the term “multiple” denotes the number and distribution of these “scars”.