Penn Medicine News Blog

May 27, 2016 // By Stephanie Simon // Comments

Harsh Realities of ALS Underscore Need for Better Treatments

While many people have a surface level knowledge of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, because of the 1920s New York Yankees’ first baseman, Lou Gehrig, or British theoretical physicist Steven Hawking, or the ice bucket challenge that went viral, too few are aware of the complexities surrounding the disease. 

For example, most people are likely not aware that every 90 minutes someone in the United States is told they have ALS, or that only 25 percent of patients survive for more than five years after diagnosis. Or, that while physically a patient’s body loses function, cognitively they are aware of what’s happening around them, and that a majority of ALS deaths are ultimately the result of respiratory failure.

These are the current realities.  And every day someone (and their loved ones) starts looking for answers.

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