Causes

The precise cause is unknown. Approximately 10% of ALS patients have an inherited form of the disease (see Genetic Considerations). Theories of disease development include a viral infection that creates a metabolic disturbance in motor neurons, or an autoimmune response directed against motor neurons. Precipitating factors include physical exhaustion, severe stress, viral infections, and conditions such as myocardial infarction, malnutrition, and traumatic injury. A hypothesis for neuronal injury is that the pathogenesis of ALS is related to injury of motor neurons by glutamic acid in the central nervous system.

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