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Cedars-Sinai ALS Program Presents Update on Lou Gehrig's Disease for Patients, Families

Oct. 18 Conference Will Provide Information on Clinical Care, Management, Clinical Trials

Los Angeles - Oct. 3, 2014 – Leading experts in research and patient care for Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, will present a conference for patients, families and caregivers Oct. 18 at Cedars-Sinai.

ALS is a progressive disease that attacks neurons in the brain and spinal cord that control muscles throughout the body. Patients generally live two to five years after diagnosis, and because no treatment has been found to significantly extend survival, current care centers focus on providing symptom management to promote the highest quality of life.

Robert H. Baloh, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai ALS Program and director of neuromuscular medicine in the Department of Neurology, will open the conference with a presentation on the fundamentals of the disorder. Baloh is well known in the ALS community for providing patient care and leading innovative research aimed at revealing disease-causing mechanisms and developing personalized treatment options.

Additional topics will be:

  • Strategies for Care – Managing Your ALS Today and Preparing for Tomorrow, presented by Hope Gruendler, certified neuroscience registered nurse, clinical nurse specialist.
  • Overview of Home Devices for Respiratory Management of ALS, presented by Ashraf Elsayegh, MD, director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit in the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at Cedars-Sinai's Suzanne and David Saperstein Critical Care Tower.
  • Rehabilitation and Nutritional Management, presented by Robyn Curran, registered dietitian, clinical dietitian; Adriane Bergman, licensed physical therapist; Megan Laib, licensed occupational therapist; and Julia McCaffrey, certified speech-language pathologist.
  • Alphabet Soup of Funding – CMS, DME, AAC and FAQs, presented by Stephanie Lewis, certified speech-language pathologist, therapy supervisor.
  • Update on Clinical Trials, presented by Peggy Allred, physical therapist with a doctorate in physical therapy, administrator of the ALS Research Program.
  • Care Partnering – Finding Strength for the Journey, presented by Linda O'Connor, licensed clinical social worker.

Update on ALS Clinical Care and Management will be in the Harvey Morse Conference Center, plaza level, accessed from the South Tower street level entrance at Cedars-Sinai, 8700 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles. The conference, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include a continental breakfast. It is free and open to the public, but preregistration is required. For information or to register, contact Tami Kendra-Romito at 310-423-1525 or tami.kendra@cshs.org.

Cedars-Sinai's comprehensive ALS Program provides the latest advances in patient care, an innovative basic research component that targets underlying genetic and molecular causes of the disorder, and clinical trials to evaluate new, experimental therapeutic options. The program recently became the first in Southern California to be named an ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence – a distinction that recognizes the quality of its treatment and research efforts.