ONGOING ALS RESEARCH PROJECTS
Currently, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, has no cure. The FDA-approved drug, Rilutek, extends survival somewhat.
Patients suffering from the disease can maximize their abilities and be made more comfortable with the following treatment or therapeutic options:
- • Medications to relieve painful muscle cramps, excess salivation and other symptoms
- • Heat or whirlpool therapy to relieve muscle cramping
- • Exercise, though recommended in moderation, to help maintain muscle strength and function
- • Physical therapy to maintain mobility and ease the discomfort of muscle stiffness, cramps and fluid retention
- • Nutritional counseling to promote optimal calories and dietary balance and to offer diet-based help when swallowing becomes difficult
- • Speech therapy to maintain as many verbal communication skills as possible and communication training to offer non-verbal techniques
- • Devices such as splints, corrective braces, grab bars, reach-extenders, etc. to help with daily activities such as dressing, eating, using the toilet and bathing
- • Special equipment such as wheelchairs, electric beds or mattresses to maximize functional independence
If you’re looking to confirm an ALS diagnosis, learn more about ALS clinical trials or seek medical care for the disease, contact the Johns Hopkins Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic. ALS scientists at the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins are working aggressively through targeted research projects to uncover new ALS treatments and to find a cure.
Solange Brown, PhD
One of the hallmarks of ALS is the death of upper motor neurons in the cerebral cortex. However, it is not known whether more subtle changes in cortical circuits precede upper motor neuron degeneration. Dr. Brown will study the excitatory and inhibitory neurons of the motor cortex, and their patterns of connectivity, to determine whether functional changes in these circuits represent early events in the development of the disease. The goal of this work is to identify primary events in the disease process that can suggest new preventative strategies and therapeutic targets in ALS.