Fast Facts: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies ALS Infographic

The Details

There is no cure. ALS is always fatal.

Motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord degenerate in ALS, which in turn leads to loss of muscle function.

  • Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed and passes away from ALS.
  • 90% of cases occur without a family history.
  • Onset is usually between the ages of 40 and 70 years.
  • Life expectancy is only 2 to 4 years.
  • Veterans have two times the incidence of ALS compared to others.
  • The Midwest has the highest prevalence of ALS in the United States and rates in Michigan almost doubled over ten years.

Persistent organic pollutants, like pesticides, increase ALS risk and decrease ALS survival.

  • Neutrophils: higher levels of these immune cells are associated with rapid ALS progression.
  • CD4 T Cells: these cells guide other types of immune cells and large decreases in their numbers are associated with disease progression.
  • NK Cells: cells that clean out diseased or dead cells in healthy people. In ALS patients, they become dysregulated and begin to attack healthy motor neurons.