“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
Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering