The People's Perspective on Medicine

957 Help and Hope for ALS

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957 Help and Hope for ALS

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Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. What does a diagnosis of ALS mean, and how do doctors and patients work together to improve the quality of life for people with this condition? We hear from a patient using an online resource called to learn about possible complementary therapies that could be helpful to him. Is there any benefit from coconut oil or other alternative therapies?

We also talk with Dr. Rick Bedlack, the neurologist who started and oversees it. He explains why this effort is beneficial for both patients and doctors and how and why he can offer his ALS patients hope. What is ALS, what is the prognosis, and how does it affect people’s quality of life? Dr. Bedlack describes some hypotheses about what might be causing this neurological disease. What is the connection between the flying squirrels of Guam, the blue-green algae in your local lake, the neurotoxin BMAA and ALS?

Finally, Dr. Paul Wicks of Patients Like Me discusses how people with ALS can benefit from online communities. Learn about the future of research on this serious condition.

Guests: Richard Bedlack, MD, PhD, is associate professor of neurology at Duke University School of Medicine and director of the Duke ALS Clinic. He is chief of neurology at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He is responsible for

John Snyder is an ALS patient in Austin, TX.

Paul Wicks, PhD, is vice president of innovation at Patients Like Me. The website is   

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Interesting to watch what unfolds in the town of Toledo after the tap water was contaminated with this algae. I’m including 2 links to read because there’s more info there than I can provide here.

As always, a very interesting and informative show! I think neurological diseases often/always? involve mineral imbalances/deficiencies. When I have symptoms like those mentioned, I have upped my intake of calcium/magnesium/zinc and Vit D.
I have been amiss in my regimen for the past year and many of the symptoms you mention have increased. Just a little anecdotal. and yay, I don’t need to feel guilty about loving fats! For me, a very timely show. Gotta get that coconut oil back in my regime, too. A stitch in time . . .

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^