What is ALS?
Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Voluntary muscle action is progressively affected, and patients in the later stages of the disease may become paralyzed. The disease is almost always fatal.
In most cases, though, ALS does not affect senses, personality, intelligence, or memory. ALS patients remain aware of those around them and what is happening—they can tell when the disease is getting worse.
No one knows what causes the disease, but according to studies conducted by the National Academies of Science, military veterans within the last century are nearly twice as likely to develop ALS as individuals with no history of military service, regardless of where or when they served.
Paralyzed Veterans of America began outreach to veterans with ALS in 2008, when a Department of Veterans Affairs rule change made ALS a service-connected disease.
Since the VA rule change, Paralyzed Veterans’ national service officers and senior benefits advocates have reached out to assist this population. Already more than 6,000 veterans or their survivors have been identified and have been or are being assisted with claims for benefits and health care. Claims filed on their behalf have resulted in over $80,000,000 in total awards (monetary and ancillary benefits) in 2013 alone, bringing the six-year total over $500 million
“The men and women who’ve served and now battle this grave illness deserve our best efforts to get them the benefits they earned,” said Sherman Gillums, associate executive director of Veterans Benefits. “Unfortunately, many may not get to fully enjoy the benefit because of the often-bleak prognoses in ALS cases. But we will continue to reach to as many eligible veterans and survivors as possible, with the hope that our intervention in their lives, at a truly critical time, made some difference.”
In 2008, Congress also enacted the ALS Registry Act, to create and maintain a registry of persons with ALS. The registry, launched in October 2010 and maintained by the Centers for Disease Control, seeks to help researchers estimate how many people have the disease, understand more about who gets the disease and potentially find a cure.
What is MS?
The words Multiple Sclerosis actually means many (multiple) scars (sclerosis). It is a chronic disease that is often disabling. MS is not a fatal disease. Most people with MS live productive lives and learn to cope with their symptoms and limitations.
Although the exact cause of MS is not known, current medical opinion believes the cause is an abnormal response of the body’s immune system. The immune system usually protects the body from viruses and bacteria but in this instance the body’s immune system attacks itself. This is called an autoimmune disease (your body’s immune system mistakes its own tissues and mounts an inappropriate attack, resulting in disease). This
Myelin is a rich layer of special fatty substances around each nerve fiber (axon) that protects and insulates. A good way to describe each nerve is similar to an electric wire that transmits nerve impulses through it. The insulation around the wire is similar to the myelin sheath around the nerve axons. When the nerve loses that insulation, the nerve is unable to work the same way it did BEFORE it lost the insulation. When the insulation (myelin) repairs, it is (scarred) and the ability of the nerve to conduct impulses to the rest of the body is altered.
MS Centers of Excellence
For Symptom Management:
For MS Diagnosis:
For MS Therapies:
For Living with MS:
For Veteran MS Benefits:
For Complementary and Alternative Medicines:
For the VA’s Main Page, Multiple Sclerosis Center of Excellence:
ALS Centers of Excellence
Since 1998, The ALS Association’s national network of Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence has provided evidence-based, multidisciplinary ALS care and services in a supportive atmosphere with an emphasis on hope and quality of life. Each ALS clinic must meet The ALS Association’s clinical care and treatment standards, which are based on the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Practice Parameters, participate in ALS-related research and successfully complete a comprehensive site review to be certified as a center of excellence. Achieving certification through successful completion of the program’s robust clinical and administrative reviews confirms to people living with ALS and their family members the validity and comprehensiveness of the Certified Treatment Center of Excellence’s standards of quality and implementation of best practices. Learn more about Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence.
The ALS Association Recognized Treatment Centers
The ALS Association Recognized Treatment Centers have the same high quality approach to multidisciplinary care as The ALS Association Certified Treatment Centers of Excellence; however, they may not offer onsite research or opportunities to participate in clinical trials. Learn more about Recognized Treatment Centers of Excellence.
Other Affiliated Clinics
The ALS Association Chapters have relationships with various clinics and practitioners across the country. Learn more about these affiliates.
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Multiple Sclerosis Society Chapters
|Colorado State Chapter
900 South Broadway, 2nd Floor
Denver, CO 80209
Website: Colorado Chapter website* Offices in Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Ft. CollinsMontana Office
All America Chapter
1629 Avenue D, Suite 2-C
Billings, MT 59102
Website: Montana Office-AAC website
All America Chapter
525 Randall Ave., Suite 105
Cheyenne, WY 82001
Website: Wyoming Office-AAC website
Rocky Mountain MS Center
Local ALS Chapters
Rocky Mountain Region
19226 66th Ave S
Kent, WA 98032
Phone 1: 425-656-1650
Phone 2: 866-786-7257
Visit our website for more information
MS Society Events
Colorado-Wyoming MS Calendar at a Glance:
Montana MS Calendar at a Glance:
Utah MS Calendar at a Glance: