ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) is a pathology that causes the death of motor neurons. Although ALS is often considered to be a muscular disease, it is actually not. In fact, this is a neurological disease. Only recently scientists began to understand how ALS develops. Since the causes of ALS had been unknown for a long time, ALS treatment was reduced to symptomatic therapy.
The main cause of ALS is a dysfunction of the protein metabolism of the central nervous system. In excess these proteins accumulate in the neurons of the brain, which are responsible for coordination of movements and muscle tone. This accumulation provokes the destruction of neurons, and as a result, symptoms of ALS appear.
Thanks to the modern equipment and highly qualified doctors, the leading positions in the diagnostics and comprehensive treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are held by the following clinics:
- Charite University Hospital Berlin, Department of Neurology.
- Bundeswehr Academic Hospital Berlin, Department of Neurology.
- Beta Klinik Bonn, Department of Neurology and Epileptology.
- University Hospital Ulm, Department of Neurology.
The cost of the medical program depends on the required preliminary examination and treatment tactics. Approximate prices for diagnostics and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are listed below:
Like all diseases of an autoimmune nature, amyotrophic sclerosis is constantly progressing and it is difficult to treat. Nevertheless, there are ongoing studies aimed at finding new therapeutic approaches. The main goal of new types of treatment is still focused on the improvement of the patient's quality of life and increasing one’s life span. It is still too early to talk about a complete cure at this stage of the medical development. However, the latest achievements of scientists inspire hope. In this article we will talk about modern methods of treating ALS syndrome.
Modern methods of ALS treatment
The US and some European countries use the drug Masitinib to treat ALS. The mechanism of its action is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, a drug aimed at blocking a protein that accumulates in motor neurons. It has been used since 2008 with other neurological diseases. However, only in 2016 it was approved for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when the next phase of clinical trials was completed.
In 2017, another step was taken in the treatment of ALS. In Japan, an innovative ALS drug was developed - Radicava (Edaravon). The drug is an antioxidant that can slow the progression of amyotrophic sclerosis. Over the past two decades, it is the first ALS drug approved by the Sanitary Commission for the Supervision of Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The following drugs are used as well:
- Beta-adrenoreceptor agonists
It is likely that some of the conservative treatment methods will help prolong the life of patients with ALS or prolong the period of work capacity.
This method employs a special suit - an exoskeleton. It perceives signals from nerves and strengthens them, forcing muscles to contract. This suit helps a person talk and perform all the necessary actions for self-service.
It is used in the hospitals of Germany and Japan. The method is aimed at fighting the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in order to improve the patient's mobility. The therapy slows muscle atrophy, but does not affect the rate of death of motor neurons and the life expectancy of the patient.
This method uses stem cells for ALS treatment. According to preliminary studies, the introduction of stem cells into the spinal cord enables partial restoration of its structure and slow the development of the disease. Stem cells replace the dead motoneurons. With a single injection of stem cells into the subarachnoid space, improvement in the patient's condition was noted in 88% of cases with observation of 3 months and in 73% in a 6-month follow-up. With intramuscular injection of stem cells, they form and restore connections of denervated muscles, which slows the death of neurons, and also develop factors that support nerve cells.
Studies have shown that ALS treatment with stem cells decreased the rate of reduction in forced vital capacity from 5.1% to 1.2%. The main cause of death of patients with ALS is respiratory failure, which develops as a result of paralysis of the respiratory muscles. Therefore, such test results inspire optimism and give doctors hope that the life expectancy of patients with ALS will be increased.
Folk remedies in the treatment of ALS
Treatment of ALS with folk remedies can not replace a fully-fledged treatment. Folk medicine can be used only with the approval of your doctor and only together with the main therapy, not instead of it.
Is it possible to cure ALS? Despite all the modern innovations in the treatment of ALS, the prognosis remains unfavorable. Patients with ALS diagnosis live from 2 to 6 years. Stem cell therapy can prolong this period by 9-18 months. However, not a single confirmed case of cure for ALS has been registered to date. Nevertheless, medicine knows the cases when the patient managed to live much longer than 6 years. A striking example of this is one of the most famous scientists in the world, Stephen Hawking. He is chained to a wheelchair, but he lives with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for more than 70 years.
Where ALS is treated?
Over the past decade, Japan, Germany and the United States have made a big leap in the study of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Scientific institutes actively search for a cure for this neurodegenerative disease. Treatment of ALS in Russia and other countries on the territory of the former CIS do not yet have the opportunities that are available in foreign clinics.
Services of Booking Health
Booking Health helps patients with ALS to receive the most modern treatment in German hospitals. To benefit from our services, you need to leave a request on our website. Our managers will select a treatment program for you and organize your trip to Germany.
Organizational services of Booking Health include:
- Selection and booking of the hospital
- Appointment with a neurologist
- Translation of your medical extracts into German and an accompanying interpreter during consultations with a doctor
- Assistance in obtaining a visa, hotel reservation and air tickets
- Meeting at the airport and transfer to the medical center
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova