Last Updated: January 29th, 2014
The following definitions serve as a glossary of terms for individuals affected by ALS and motor neuron disease. If you have a definition or resource you would like to add please contact us at info(@)alsforums.com.
We have added the following definitions resources in the following categories for brevity:
ALS - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Pronunciation: a-my-o-tro-phic lat-er-al scle-ro-sis
What is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
Individuals living with Lou Gehrig's disease are affected by a gradual degeneration of nerve cells in their central nervous system.
The degeneration of nerve cells leads to an inability to control their voluntary muscles - including motor skills with their hands, feet, arms, legs and life sustaining functions such as swallowing.
As the disease progresses muscles become weaker. The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy, usually resulting in death within five years of onset.
MND - Motor Neuron Disease (North America)
MND - Motor Neurone Disease (UK)
Pronunciation: motor neu-ron disease
What is Motor Neuron Disease?
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease that attacks the upper AND lower motor neurons. Motor neurone disease is a chronic and slowly progressive disease marked by the wasting of muscles and associated with weakness and paralysis.
Degeneration of the motor neurons and the resulting weakness causes increased loss of mobility in the limbs, difficulty with speech, swallowing, and breathing.
MND is an international term that covers a number of illnesses that fall under the degenerative motor neurone diseases, including: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), progressive bulbar palsy (PBP), and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS).
Pronunciation: motor neu-ron
What is a motor neuron?
A motor neuron, also called a motoneuron, is a nerve cell (neuron) that begins in the cortex of the brain and send signals to and from muscles.
What is neurodegenerative?
What is a neuron?
PBP - Progressive Bulbar Palsy
Pronunciation: progressive bull-bar palsy
What is PBP?
Facts: Approximately 20% of ALS patients suffer from progressive bulbar palsy.
PLS - Primary Lateral Sclerosis
Pronunciation: primary lat-er-al scle-ro-sis
What is Primary Lateral Sclerosis?
Primary lateral sclerosis is thought to be sporadic, however, there are familial forms of PLS that are hereditary, although rare. PLS is the name for a rare group of neurodegenerative disorders and is grouped under motor neuron disease.
Neurodegenerative disorders are caused by the degeneration of the upper motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. People with PLS have less control of their voluntary muscles, including increased spasticity and weakness of voluntary muscles. PLS, while debilitating, is not normally fatal.
For more information about PLS refer to our general ALS and MND terms section, specifically this page: What is primary lateral sclerosis?
PMA - Progressive Muscular Atrophy
What is Progressive Muscular Atrophy?
SMA - Spinal Muscular Atrophy
What is Spinal Muscular Atrophy?
Upper Motor Neuron
Pronunciation: upper motor neu-ron
What is an upper motor neuron?
An upper motor neuron is a neuron that starts in the motor cortex of the brain and terminates at the spinal cord or within the medulla.