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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a rare neurodegenerative disease affecting lower (neurons projecting from the brainstem and spinal cord to muscle) and upper motor (neurons projecting from cortex to the brainstem and spinal cord) neurons. The progressive loss of motor neurons causes rapid loss of motor control, leading to paralysis and death within 3-5 years of symptom onset. Epidemiologic data suggest that the disorder has an incidence of 3:100,000 with a slight male prevalence. The cause of the sporadic for of ALS is unknown. Most cases are sporadic (90%), while the remaining 10% of the cases occur familial where the gene mutation is known. Recently, using machine learning approach called RefMap 690 ALS-associated genes were identified that might have functional significance in healthy and diseased motor neurons and brain tissues. Currently, there are no treatments that could halt the disease progression.