AISLA, Italian Association Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Onlus, started in 1983. The initial goal was to provide care and treatment for people with ALS, specifically encouraging new research and a proficient medical structure for the care of these patients. ALS is a disease that progressively blocks all the muscles. It, however, leaves the mind intact, thus preserving the ability to think and relate to others. The mind remains alert but imprisoned in a body that gradually becomes still, in what sufferers call a "prison without bars." The causes of ALS are still unknown, however it is now established that there is no single cause; it is rather a multifactorial disease, determined by a combination of several circumstances. The work of AISLA focuses on four areas of activity: information, assistance, research and training. AISLA has also created the "listening center and advice on ALS." Since 2003, this center has offered patients, family members and health workers free advice from neurologists, pulmonologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, nutritionists, experts in communication aids, speech therapists, specialists in alternative and augmentative communication techniques, deglutologists, social workers, nurses, experts in palliative care, care givers, and psychologists on a daily basis.