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.
Information describing data. In genomic research, metadata includes where/how the DNA or RNA sequence was obtained, allowing researchers to reproduce or retrieve data more easily.
motor neuron disease
A group of disorders in which motor nerve cells (neurons) in the spinal cord and brain stem deteriorate and die. ALS is the most common motor neuron disease
multiple sclerosis (MS)
An autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. MS involves the gradual destruction of myelin (the protective covering of nerves) throughout the brain and/or spinal cord. This interferes with nerve pathways, causing muscular weakness, loss of coordination and speech and visual disturbances.
Loss of muscle fiber volume that leads to a visible decrease in muscle size.
muscular dystrophy (MD)
A group of muscle diseases caused by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to the alterations of proteins involved in muscle health.
myasthenia gravis (MG)
A chronic autoimmune, neuromuscular disease that causes weakness and fatigue in the skeletal muscles, affecting the eyes, face, neck, and limbs. Its name means "grave muscular weakness."