Stories about: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Message banking: Giving a voice to adults with ALS and kids in the ICU

Roughly 30,000 people in the U.S. currently live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal disease in which the motor nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord (which signal muscles to contract) slowly but progressively degenerate. Eventually, ALS robs people of the ability to move and speak.

But they can still have a voice.

“We can’t change someone’s medical diagnosis,” says John Costello, MA, CCC-SLP, director of Boston Children’s Augmentative Communication Program (ACP) at Boston Children’s Hospital. “But we can support people to maintain dignity, control and social connectedness while expressing their true selves and remaining active members of the world around them.”

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Stem cell research leads to a trial of an epilepsy drug for ALS

Neural stem cells Lou Gehrig's disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALSUntil recently, most scientific knowledge about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, came from mouse studies. But new research is taking this incurable neurodegenerative condition to the dish, tapping induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)—made from ALS patients’ skin cells—to create motor neurons. These motor neurons are being used not just to model how ALS works at the cellular level but also to screen potential drugs.

This work, taking place at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) in collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), has now paved the way for a clinical trial of a drug that might never otherwise have been thought of.

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