Can the progression of MND pause or reverse?

Could there be a small number of people for whom there is a pause or a reversal in their disease progression? A talk at the Symposium on Friday afternoon from Dr Rick Bedlack (Duke University) looked into this very topic.

There have been few studies looking into the changing nature of motor neurone disease (MND) progression, so it is unknown how common this is.

Pause and reversal

This pause or reversal phenomenon in their MND or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is reliant on data from validated outcome measures such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R) scores.Read More »

ALSUntangled: Lessons Learned after 5 Years

Dr Richard Bedlack is based at the Duke ALS Clinic in America. Back in 2009 he founded ALSUntangled and to start off MND Awareness week he writes about the group and what they’ve achieved in the past five years.

ALSUntangled started in 2009 as a method for helping people living with MND (commonly known as ALS in America) make more informed decisions about alternative and off-label treatments (AOTs) they were interested in.   I wasn’t sure how it would be received by people living with MND or by other clinicians.

ALSUntangled207x130Read More »

Lets talk together

Dr Rick Bedlack, founder of ALSUntangled speaks at the International Symposium about assisting patient choices. Dr Belinda Cupid, from our Research Development Team explains more:

Neurologist and natty dresser Dr Rick Bedlack, from Duke ALS Clinic in North Carolina USA, took on a challenging topic of patient decision making at this afternoon’s session of the 23rd In ternational Symposium on ALS/MND from the perspective of different decision making models.

In quite a philosophical talk, he framed the discussion of the different models of doctor – patient relationships from a discussion that he’d had with one of his patients. An educated patient accepted Dr Bedlack’s offer of riluzole and management of their care through a multidisciplinary team care approach, but declined to participate in a research study. The patient explained that they were going to pursue an unproven treatment that they’d heard about. Dr Bedlack commented that “their decisions bothered me and I started to think about why they bothered me”.

Starting with their refusal to participate in clinical trials, from one perspective, slower enrolment…

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Stem cell conference part six: unregulated treatments

The room was crowded at 8am for the first presentation of day two, from Dr Doug Sipp (RIKEN Institute, Japan) on ‘Unregulated ALS/MND treatments and public education’.  Dr Sipp provided an insightful and entertaining overview of the plethora of self-styled stem cell ‘clinics’ and the tactics they employ to attract business. During the talk, the song Snake Oil, by the country singer Steve Earle, kept going round my head…. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention please
Come in close so everyone can see
I got a tale to tell
A listen don’t cost a dime
And if you believe that, we’re gonna get along just fine….”

Time was given over for a discussion on the issue of unregulated treatments, moderated by Dr Rick Bedlack (Duke University) and involving myself and Steven Byer of the US charity ALS Worldwide. Dr Bedlack is one of the founders of ALSUntangled, a consortium of ALS clinicians that used the Internet and social media to investigate alternative and off-label ALS treatments. Although in its early stages of development, ALSUntangled is fast becoming a very important resource to people with MND, providing the sort of objective information that helps people to come to an informed choice on whether or not to pursue alternative approaches to treating their disease.

There was clear consensus among those in the room that clinicians, scientists and patient associations need to find mechanisms for working more closely together – in separating ‘hope from hype’ and providing a more accurate explanation of the potential uses of stem cells in both basic science and disease treatment. Stephen Byer talked about the two C’s: the need for closer Collaboration and sharing of information; and better methods of Communication. I added a third – Consistency – to the discussion. We don’t necessarily all need to be providing exactly the same message, as different individuals and organisations we may well have differing opinions, but we should be basing those opinions on the same level of information and understanding.