FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, attacks the motor neurons in the brain that control muscle movement. The disease can impact your ability to move, speak, eat and breathe. While there's no cure, there is new hope on the horizon.
The ice bucket challenge for ALS raised a lot of awareness and money, but there's still no cure.
Duke University doctor Richard Bedlack, MD, PhD wants to change that. He runs one of the top ALS clinics in the world, the Duke ALS clinic.
"We want to try to give people back as many things that ALS is taking away from them," Bedlack told ABC30.
He's worked with over 2,000 patients and is part of a review team of 95 scientists from 10 countries investigating new alternative therapies.
Bedlack told ABC30, "Even though it sounds strange, it's not mainstream theory on ALS, that doesn't mean it won't work."
His top pick for further study is coconut oil. In ALS, motor neurons can't make energy. Once ingested, coconut oil converts into ketone bodies that can be used by cells as energy.
"If you could give the body some other way to make energy, some other source of energy besides the mitochondria, you might be able to keep the cells alive longer. So we ought to study coconut oil," Bedlack told ABC30.
Next up? Fecal transplants. Bedlack believes more research is needed to see if placing good bacteria back into the gut of those with ALS could help some with the disease. He notes one case overseas with amazing results.
"There's a person who got a fecal transplant with ALS that a doctor confirmed had ALS, that a doctor confirmed got up out of his wheelchair and walked after a fecal transplant which we've never seen with any other treatment for ALS," Bedlack told ABC30.
Finally, cannabis might help stop the progression of ALS, and treat symptoms like weight loss, muscle spasms and secretions.
Bedlack told ABC30, "I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic."
Bedlack says vitamin D is another possible therapy. People with ALS, like other chronic diseases, are much more likely to be vitamin D deficient. To learn about other alternative therapies and off label treatments for ALS, you can visit Bedlack's website www.alsuntangled.com.
For more information, contact:
Richard Bedlack, MD, PhD
Duke ALS Clinic
3 alternative treatments for ALS
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