Muscular Dystrophy Association's National ALS Awareness Month Focuses Attention On Deadly Disease
National ALS Awareness Month focuses public attention on a disease that affects more than 30,000 American adults, with an additional 5,000 new cases diagnosed every year. For as-yet-unknown reasons, ALS kills the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles (including those used for breathing and swallowing), causing debilitating weakness and ultimately paralysis.
Striking healthy, fit adults in the prime of life, ALS often proves fatal within three to five years of diagnosis.
In addition to local seminars and other activities conducted in May by MDA chapters across the country, MDA will put a human face on ALS by continuing its annual online series, "ALS: Anyone's Life Story."
Each day of May, a different person with ALS will be featured on MDA's ALS Division Web site (http://www.als-mda.org). Viewers can learn firsthand how people affected by ALS cope with its physical impacts and face the future.
MDA is the world leader in ALS research and services, providing:
an aggressive, cure-driven research program that includes the largest ALS drug discovery project in history, at the ALS Therapy Development Institute in Cambridge, Mass.;
specialized medical care at 36 MDA/ALS centers and 220 general MDA clinics throughout the country;
research news and practical advice for daily living through the monthly MDA/ALS Newsmagazine and other ALS-specific publications such as Everyday Life with ALS and The MDA ALS Caregiver's Guide; and
financial assistance with the purchase of wheelchairs, leg braces and communication devices.
MDA is a voluntary health agency supporting programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services, advocacy and professional and public health education. Since starting its ALS effort in conjunction with Lou Gehrig's widow, Eleanor, in the early 1950s, MDA has expended $250 million in its battle against the disease.
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