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ALS vs. MS: Learning 12 Differences and Similarities


They both have the word “sclerosis” in their name, but they’re not the same thing. Multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – the latter also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – have similarities, but some distinguishing characteristics.

It’s true that both cause scarring of the nerve fibers, which is the root of the word “sclerosis,” explains WebMD. However, the root cause is different, and therefore the treatment is different. Let’s take a closer look at 12 key differences between the 2-diseases…

1. Defining MS

The MS Society in Canada – a country that has one of the highest rates of MS per capita anywhere in the world – says MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.

Autoimmune means the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, and in this case it destroys the myelin coating that protects nerves, notes the source. Without this myelin covering, nerve impulses are impaired, leading to a number of possible physical and mental impairments.

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