ALSA Awards Research Grants to Carolinas ALS Center

RALEIGH, N.C., July 8, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Carolinas Neuromuscular/ ALS-MDA Center, which is part of the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., was awarded two Clinical Management Research Grants totaling $180,000 by The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA).

A grant in the amount of $150,000 was awarded for a multi-year study entitled "Modifying Nutritional Therapy in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Patients with Changes in Respiratory Status." The study began July 1, 2003 and ends July 1, 2006. This study will attempt to understand the effects of nutritional care on ALS patients, since standard guidelines for patients have not been established and the respiratory system is particularly vulnerable to improper nutrition. It is likely that energy requirements for ALS patients change across the disease continuum and may correlate with changes in respiratory status. Amy Cameron Ellis, M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N., and Jeffrey Rosenfeld, M.D., Ph.D. will be the investigators.

The ALSA's Clinical Management Research Grant Program began in 1998 and is meant to encourage new research that may one day result in a strong evidence base that demonstrates measurable, positive effects on the clinical management and lives of patients with ALS. To this date there are ten grants that are being funded and three completed, with varying topics such as clinical, psychological and/or social management of ALS.

A second grant in the amount of $30,000 has been awarded to fund a pilot study that will be carried out by three ALS centers over a one-year time frame. Entitled "A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of Botulinum toxin for sialorrhea in ALS," this study is designed to obtain data regarding the safety and efficacy of Botulinum toxin type B (Myobloc) in decreasing drooling in patients with ALS. Information obtained will also provide new data on the effect of Myobloc treatment on the quality of life and caregiver burden. In addition to being socially embarrassing, drooling can lead to aspiration pneumonia -- the most common cause of death in ALS, other than respiratory failure. Carlayne Jackson, M.D.; C. Blake Simpson, M.D.; Jeffrey Rosenfeld, M.D., Ph.D.; and Richard Barohn, M.D. will be the investigators, and the three sites are the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio (a Certified ALSA Center), the Carolinas ALS Center and the University of Kansas (a Certified ALSA Center).

The Carolinas ALS Center provides aggressive education, medical care and encouragement. The center is involved in the most current clinical and non-clinical research, which is represented by these grants.

The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. Its mission is to find a cure for and improve living with ALS. For more information visit the national ALSA website at or The ALS Association -- Jim "Catfish" Hunter Chapter's site at


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