Symptoms and Signs of Dementia in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease)

Doctor's Notes on Dementia in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also called Lou Gehrig's disease) is a type of motor neuron disorder that affects the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary movements. The muscles become progressively weaker, and the disease eventually leads to paralysis and death. In most people with ALS cognitive processes (such as thinking, learning, memory, and speech) are not affected. Occasionally, a person with ALS does experience dementia, a severe brain disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities.

Symptoms of dementia in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig disease) include apathy (lack of interest, withdrawal), lack of emotion, reduced spontaneity, loss of inhibition, restlessness or overactivity, social inappropriateness, mood swings, memory loss, loss of speech and/or language (partial or complete), or loss of reasoning or problem-solving ability.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.