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Upper Motor Neurons Contribute to ALS in Human Brain Tissue

ALS is characterized by the progressive loss of motor neurons – both upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). Within the ALS scientific community there has been a debate how UMNs and LMNs contribute to disease. Dr. Ozdinler and team from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago recently published a paper in Scientific Reports, a high impact journal published by Nature, further solidifying the important contribution of UMNs to disease specifically in people living with ALS. The ALS Association is pleased to support Dr. Ozdinler’s studies that contributed to this important paper.

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Nuedexta Trial Demonstrates Promising Results Impacting Bulbar Function in ALS Patients

In the January 9th issue of Neurotherapeutics, Dr. Richard Smith, Director of the Center for Neurologic Study in La Jolla, Calif. published promising results of a phase II trial testing the effect of Nuedexta on bulbar function. Overall, he and his co-authors found that Nuedexta had a significant palliative effect on speech, swallowing and salivation in people living with ALS. The ALS Association contributed to the funding of this trial.

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Duke, UNC Coaches Unite to Raise Awareness of ALS

Rivals Honor former ODU Coach Jeff Capel, Jr., Recently Diagnosed with ALS

The men’s basketball coaching staffs of Duke University and the University of North Carolina are wearing ALS Association lapel pins tonight in honor of Jeff Capel, Jr., who was recently diagnosed with ALS. Capel was the head coach at Old Dominion University for seven seasons and also served as an assistant for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Philadelphia 76ers. His son, Jeff, is an assistant on Duke’s staff, and his son, Jason, played at UNC and now is an announcer on the ACC Network.

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The Barnett Family Legacy Honored with Naming of New Drug Development Program

During The ALS Association’s annual Leadership Conference in Irvine, Calif., The Association came together to honor the Barnett family, who have contributed over $11 million to The ALS Association since it was founded. Lawrence Barnett was the founding chairman of The Association. To solidify the family’s place in Association history, it was announced that the TREAT ALSTM drug development program will be named “The Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Drug Development Program.”

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An ALS Leader and Caregiver’s Unique Perspective on Assistive Technology

Evy Reviers serves as the CEO of ALS Liga, our sister organization in Belgium and is a champion in ALS patient advocacy and care. She and her organization stepped up to partner with Dr. Desain and his team that develops NoiseTag brain computer interface (BCI), who won the ALS Assistive Technology Challenge in Dublin this past December. Through this collaboration, patients in Belgium will be able to try out the NoiseTag BCI to optimize its function and usability, thereby making it the best product possible. She sat down with us to give her perspective on ALS assistive technology and care from her vast experience as a leader of a successful ALS organization and from her personal experience as caregiving daughter of her father who lives with ALS.

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NoiseTag BCI is the Assistive Technology of the Future

 

A type of assistive technology, called brain computer interface (BCI), has been around for years with much room for improvement. We sat down with the 2016 ALS Assistive Technology Challenge winner, Dr. Peter Desain from Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, who invented NoiseTag BCI that gives a novel spin on BCI technology. It is faster, more comfortable and efficient and easier to use than ever before. Learn more in our interview with Dr. Desain.

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The ALS Assistive Technology Challenge Finale Commanded Innovation and Hope

After over a year in the making, the ALS Assistive Technology Challenge came to its culmination at the finale event during the ALS/MND International Alliance Meeting in Dublin. All five finalist teams came together to show off their prototypes to our esteemed judging team. The meeting participants living with ALS also had a chance to try out each new technology. Every finalist had an innovative idea – from brain computer interface technology to voice message banking – to help people living with ALS communicate with ease. This is extremely important to their quality of life and why the Challenge was started in the first place. Here is a photo summary of this exciting event, ending with the winners.

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This Year’s 10 Biggest Advances in ALS Research

 

In 2016, a significant number of ALS research discoveries, advances in clinical trials, collaborations and strategic initiatives all accelerated the pace of discovery in finding treatments and a cure for ALS.

We’ve pulled together what we think are 10 of 2016’s biggest advances in ALS research that gave us, and people living with ALS, hope this year!

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Two Young Entrepreneurs Win Part of the ALS Assistive Technology Challenge

After over a year in the making, The ALS Association in partnership with Prize4Life awarded the ALS Assistive Technology prize in Dublin during the ALS/MND International Alliance Meeting. We are thrilled to award one of the top prizes to Dexter Ang and David Cipoletta, two young entrepreneurs that founded Pison Technology based out of Massachusetts. They blew the judges away with their easy-to-use, self-contained communication system based on muscle EMG signals. People living with ALS are able to learn and use the system to communicate in minutes. We observed first hand as participants were thrilled with its comfort and usability while testing out their technology. We sat down with CEO Dexter Ang and CTO David Cipoletta to learn more about their company and their exciting new technology.