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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease)

What is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is known to many as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after the famous New York Yankees baseball player who was diagnosed with the disease in 1939. This nervous system disease attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movements. Initial symptoms are varied, but often include problems with coordination and walking, as well as muscle cramps, twitches and slurred speech. As the disease progresses, muscle weakness becomes more pronounced. Unfortunately, there is no cure, and a person with ALS will eventually lose total mobility and have difficulty swallowing and breathing.

How do we diagnose amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Our physicians in the UF Health Jacksonville Neuromuscular Disease Program are highly trained and experienced in conducting state-of-the-art assessments used to diagnose ALS. An evaluation may include several types of tests including a nerve conduction study, an electromyogram (EMG), a quantitative motor analysis and a tremor analysis.

How do we treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Certified Treatment Center of Excellence

This disease is not an easy one. To better support our patients living with ALS and to ensure their needs are met, UF Health Jacksonville has created a center of care provided by a specialized team of medical professionals. Our center has been designated by the ALS Association as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence, one of the very few in Florida.

Multidisciplinary team

To meet our high standards and those required for certification, a multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive and compassionate care in a supportive, family-oriented atmosphere. With a neurologist, nurse case manager, dietitian, social worker, psychologist and other specialists as needed, as well as respiratory, physical, occupational and speech therapists — our team is committed to finding medications and research-based treatments to help control ALS symptoms and provide patients with a better quality of life.

Video: Anne Johnson's Story

Anne Johnson shares her decision for choosing the UF Health Neuroscience Institute for treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Illustration of a brain
ALS Association Certified Center

ALS Treatment Center of Excellence

The UF Health Neuroscience Institute is a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence by the ALS Association.

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