“While we are waiting for a cure, people need to know that a lot can be done to make life easier and longer for people with ALS,” said lead guidelines author Robert G. Miller, MD, with the Department of Neurology at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
ALS is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurologic disease that attacks the nerve cells that control voluntary muscles. Eventually people with ALS are not able to stand or walk, or use their hands and arms, and they have difficulty breathing and swallowing. Most people with ALS die within three to five years from the onset of symptoms. However, about 10 percent survive for 10 or more years.
According to the guidelines, the drug riluzole should be offered to people with ALS to slow the rate at which the disease progresses. Riluzole is the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ALS and has a modest effect on prolonging survival.
The guidelines also state that life expectancy will likely increase and quality of life may increase for people with ALS who use an assisted-breathing device. Longer life expectancy is also likely for people with ALS who use a feeding tube known as a PEG tube, since nutrition plays a critical role in prolonging survival. The guidelines also recommend doctors consider offering their patients botulinum toxin B to treat sialorrhea, also known as drooling, if oral medications do not help. Moreover, doctors should consider screening their patients for behavioral or thinking problems because studies show many people with ALS have these problems. Such problems might affect some patients’ willingness to accept suggested treatments.
“Important treatments available for people with ALS are often not suggested by doctors and not used by patients,” said Miller. “It’s important that people with ALS know that more treatments are now available to ease the burden of the disease and that they should see neurologists who are aware of these new guidelines and follow them.”
In addition, the guidelines recommend people with ALS enroll early in a specialized multidisciplinary ALS clinic to optimize care. “Attending a multidisciplinary clinic will likely increase survival and access to treatments, and may improve quality of life,” said Miller.
The cause of ALS is not known, and it’s not yet known why ALS strikes some people and not others.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as epilepsy, dystonia, migraine, Huntington’s disease and dementia.
For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit http://www.aan.com or http://www.thebrainmatters.org.
Rachel L. Seroka | American Academy of Neurology
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy