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Awareness for ALS

For those of us who are frequent social media users, it has been hard to miss the constant overturning of ice water buckets popping up all over newsfeeds this summer. The ice water challenge is a campaign to raise awareness and funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge involves participants either dumping a bucket of icy water over their heads and/or donating to the ALS Association. After dumping the water on themselves, participants then post a video of the action to social media sites and challenge friends to participate as well. According to the ALS association, “Between July 29 and… August 12, The ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received an astonishing $4 million in donations compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year.” While the challenge has successfully helped to bring attention to the disease, there is still much that the general public does not know about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Check out some of the ALS Fast Facts below, or browse through our recommended resources to learn more about this disease.

ALS Fast Facts:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous system. In ALS, the motor neurons that direct a person’s muscles to move are damaged. Over time, muscles weaken, resulting in paralysis of movement, including breathing. Due to the progressive nature of the disease, it usually results in death. Those with ALS typically live 2 to 5 years after diagnosis.
  • There is no current cure for those suffering form ALS. However, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms.
  • The cause of ALS is unknown, but it is commonly thought that genetics plays a role; those who have a family member diagnosed with ALS are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Autoimmune disease, infection, and chemical imbalance, as well as chemical exposure are all additional theoretical causes of ALS.
  • According to data from the National ALS Registry, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, more than 12,000 people in the United States have a diagnosis of ALS, meaning a prevalence of 3.9 cases of ALS per 100,000 persons.
  • Want to become more involved in ALS awareness? The ALS Clinic at Georgia Regents Neuroscience Center is hosting a Walk on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Augusta Riverwalk. Learn more about the Beat Feet for ALS Walk.

    Richland Library has books and databases to help you learn more about medical issues and diseases, as well as resources for coping with illnesses. Check out our list of recommended resources below, or visit any of these nonprofit organizations' websites:

  • ALS Association
  • Les Turner ALS Foundation
  • Project ALS
  • ALS Therapy Development Institute
  • Prize4Life
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association
  • Sources:

    ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Takes U.S. by Storm (2014, August 12). Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://www.alsa.org/news/archive/als-ice-bucket-challenge.html

    Mehta, P., Antao, V., & Kaye, W. (2014). Prevalence of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis United States, 2010–2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 63(SS07), 1-14. Retrieved August 20, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6307a1.htm?s_cid=ss6307a1_w


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