SLU researchers working to extend lives of ALS patients

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating disease with no cure. But research happening right now at Saint Louis University could increase the life span of ALS patients.

A 63-year-old Shrewsbury man is one of three ALS patients in the St. Louis area to receive a new type of implant to combat respiratory insufficiency and assist in their breathing.

Sooner or later, ALS will attack every muscle in a patient’s body, making it impossible to move or even breathe. Traditionally, patients would be forced to use a ventilator or respirator, but this device helps strengthen the diaphragm muscles, making breathing easier

Neurosurgeon Ghazala Hayat, who heads up the ALS Certified Center at SLU, said the university is looking for more patients to participate in the study. Previous clinical trials at other universities show the procedure can extend the life of a patient by about 16 months.