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Questions for Dr. Kennedy
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Posted by: Celeste
Date: May 2, 2001 1:15 AM

What recommendations do you have for someone recently diagnosed with ALS? What other diseases are similar to ALS? Would antioxidants improve syptoms? How is the diagnois of ALS reached?

Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: May 2, 2001 1:33 PM

The patient's medical history, physical examination, and neurological examination are usually sufficient to suggest the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, it is still important to conduct a full investigation to exclude other conditions. Since no single laboratory test or procedure can establish the diagnosis, every effort should be made to be certain that a treatable condition resembling ALS is not overlooked. A complete diagnostic work-up usually includes most, if not all, of the following tests and procedures: electrodiagnostic tests, laboratory tests and procedures, x-ray and imaging studies, and muscle biopsy. I have a 58 year old male patient with ALS who was progressing rapidly at age 54, but has experienced no further progression over the four year period since we did a series of IV chelation treatments and put him on human growth hormone (which he still takes). Of course, this is only one case and doesn't prove anything; but in the absence of any other good ideas, I theorized that ALS has something to do with heavy metals and their disruption of normal enzymatic function and also with protein synthesis - which declines with age due to falling levels of HGH. I believe the various motor neuron diseases should be studied along these lines. I think it is interesting that the MNDs which are said to be genetically based do not express themselves until late in life. This suggests to me there is some change associated with aging which allows their expression. Declining HGH levels (an almost dependable effect of aging) seems to me as good a possibility as any other. Also, in families, not everyone is affected who should be affected. This suggests to me that environmental influences are also involved. Heavy metal exposure seems a good candidate, thus chelation therapy seems a reasonable thing to do. Until I discover a better therapy, this is the path I will take.

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