Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a dreadful disease. Localized weakness, fasciculations, and wasting usually herald the onset. Patients dutifully make the rounds of specialists before finding themselves in a neuromuscular neurologist's office, where the final diagnosis is made. The patient is then faced with inexorable and relatively rapid loss of all motor functions, culminating in death from respiratory failure. This hopeless prognosis still exists, but things are now changing rapidly, and there is hope that in the near future major breakthroughs will occur in ALS research, leading to effective therapies.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Synthesis of Research and Clinical Practice. Arch Neurol. 1999;56(11):1418. doi: