Before baseball player Lou Gehrig was diagnosed in 1939, few Americans knew about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the neurodegenerative disease which causes progressive muscle weakness and paralysis. People aged 60 and older have a great risk of developing the disease and men are more susceptible to it than women. ALS affects about 5 per 100,000 people per year in the United States. In the majority of cases, there is no known cause.
While there is no cure for ALS, patients treated at a dedicated ALS center such as the Yale Medicine ALS Program will have a better chance of living beyond the average life expectancy of three to four years due to the availability of resources and access to clinical trials.