Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a degenerative neurological condition which affects the brain and spine and eventually the muscular system. It is estimated that at any given time as many as 30,000 people Americans may have the condition, but only about 5,000 are diagnosed at any time. This is because it takes awhile for the symptoms to worsen enough for patients to get screened. By that time—when a person receives the diagnosis of ALS—they have only 2 to 5 years before the condition claims their life.
However, a new study indicates that it may be possible to reduce the risk of ALS simply preventing the brain mutation that causes it. This is important because previous studies suggested that the neurological condition originated in the spine; this study points at the brain as the cause.