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Dementia in ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) (cont.)

Outlook

Right now, no cure is available for frontal lobe dementia or the underlying motor neuron disease. These are terminal illnesses, meaning that they cause death. Most people with motor neuron disease die within 5 years of the first symptoms. The actual cause of death is usually respiratory failure or infections related to respiratory disability.

Motor neuron disease linked to dementia seems to be even more aggressive. People with this form of the disease usually die within 3 years of the first symptoms.

If you have motor neuron disease, you should take the opportunity to express your wishes about medical care, estate planning, and personal issues while you are still able.

  • Preferences concerning medical care at the end of life should be clarified early and documented in your medical chart. Your spouse and other close family members should understand your wishes. Early clarification of these wishes prevents conflicts later when you are not able to speak for yourself.
  • You should consult a lawyer as early as possible. Personal affairs should be settled. Later in the disease, you may not be able to sign papers or even communicate your wishes.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/6/2014
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