Amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disease that affects as many as 30,000 people in the United States. Commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS causes nerves in the brain and spinal cord to slowly die, making it difficult to walk, eat, swallow and even breathe.
Saint Francis Healthcare System provides an ALS Clinic led by Andrew Godbey, MD, MSPH, neurologist, Saint Francis Medical Partner. The clinic, which is the only one of its kind in the region, uses a multidisciplinary team to improve patients’ quality of life.
“While there is no cure for ALS, we can improve our patients’ lives through new treatments and therapies,” says Godbey.
In 2014, the ALS Association (ALSA) sponsored an Ice Bucket Challenge when participants poured a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads, made a donation to the ALSA and challenged others to do the same. The campaign raised over $220 million, much of which funded research for ALS.
Less than a year later, researchers released a study about TDP-43, a protein found in patients with ALS. The study showed that if they could mimic the protein’s function in these patients, they might be able to slow down progression of the disease.
“Every day, researchers are making more progress toward curing ALS,” says Godbey. “Participation in clinical trials can help us find the answers we seek.”
The ALS Clinic’s dedicated team offers specialized services including:
Driver evaluation and training – Patients learn proper adaptive driving techniques.
Hand therapy – Patients who have lost range of motion in their hands receive specialized treatment.
Home health – Nurses, therapists and aides assist patients confined to their homes.
Neuropsychology services – Patients develop coping skills.
Physical, occupational, and recreational therapy
To learn more, call 573-331-3996 or visit our ALS Clinic webpage.