Angelo Tabanan – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis



By: Angelo Tabanan


I chose to research about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or more commonly known as ALS because I was reading this book about someone who had a mentor who ended up dying due to ALS, and that gave me the idea of researching about ALS. Before conducting my research i knew that ALS is a progressive disease and it paralyzes you after a few years. I didn’t really have anything to connect with this because I never had to deal with ALS in my life. This disease is irrelevant to me like I said earlier I only found out about this disease because of reading this book (The book is Tuesdays with Morrie if you were wondering). This disease doesn’t really affect teenagers (teens only have around 1% chance at getting ALS) because this disease would usually strike at around 40 to 70 years old.


While researching about this problem I learned that your motor neurons die or degenerate therefore causing you to lose control of that certain muscle. During the process of this disease you usually lose the ability to eat, walk, talk, and at the end you lose the ability to breath. This explained parts of my learning because I wanted to learn about a disease that is impacting people’s lives. I thought that this disease was very interesting because of the fact that this disease is “sporadic” meaning it randomly infects someone for no known reason, but there are other cases where the disease is “familial” meaning that it can be inherited from other family members, luckily this is pretty rare (this happens only around 5 to 10 percent of the time). My thinking about diseases have changed because some of them just randomly happen and for some of the other diseases something needs to happen to get infected. One of the common misconceptions about this issue is that most people think this issue is exclusively only for the elderly. I see why people will think this mostly because ALS strikes on the elderly most of the time, but there are very few cases where people younger than the age of 30 get ALS. Sadly there is no cure for this disease, but there is a drug to slow down the process of the ALS called a riluzole. A riluzole works by blocking the release of a compound called glutamate, which is believed to injure nerve cells and potentially kill them. This helped me learn more about wellness, and that it isn’t only about your mental, physical, social, and emotional wellness is about almost everything.