Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease in the central nervous system that impacts the brain and spinal cord, resulting in a loss of muscle control.
It is colloquially referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the famous baseball player who battled it in the late 1930s, and does not yet have a cure. To better understand the language of ALS, the ALS Glossary below provides definitions for research terms commonly used by our Innovation Ecosystem and the extended ALS community.
An adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector is the part of a virus able to enter cells, but lacks any of the cell's damaging properties. AAV vectors can be genetically engineered to deliver a gene by selectively "infecting" the cell. AAV vectors have become one of the most common vehicles for gene delivery.
Abnormal proteins do not function as they should and are often produced by genetic mutations. TDP-43 is an example of a protein that becomes abnormal in ALS patients and becomes dysfunctional and clumps.
activities of daily living (ADLs)
The fundamental skills required to independently care for oneself. Basic ADLs include eating, dressing and toileting. Instrumental ADLs include managing transportation, shopping, finances and medications.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
A progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.
A person who works to increase awareness of and allocation of resources to ALS research, treatment, and/or other aspects of care.
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease involving the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. Progression of Alzheimer's leads to mental deterioration, disorientation, memory disturbance, and confusion.
A laboratory test to detect and/or measure the amount or activity of a specific substance.
The evaluation of a test method (assay) to determine its fitness for a particular use.
Diseases in which the body's immune system attacks certain parts of the body "thinking" its own cells are foreign. Examples include multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, lupus. People with ALS are prone to developing autoimmune diseases.