Mar 28, 2014 – Calories and ALS

March 28, 2014

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ANCHOR LEAD: FEEDING HIGHER CALORIE DIETS TO PEOPLE WITH ALS STILL NEEDS STUDY, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

ALS is a relentless disease, most often resulting in death just a couple of years after diagnosis. Now a new study shows that higher calorie diets may prolong life in people with the disease. Jeffrey Rothstein, an ALS expert at Johns Hopkins, points out that this finding needs confirmation.

ROTHSTEIN: It’s a terribly small study, and that’s okay, it gives us a signal. What we look at when we see small studies is we think of that as a great starting point to do the larger study that should follow. An important take away is that if you were to believe this is true, we could do it in patients today. In this very small study it looked to be safe to try these other diets. We hope that safety profile would hold out in larger trials with these patients. We don’t have a big safety concern, and of course ALS being such a terrible, terrible disease we have to be careful in worrying too much about safety when we’re trying to extend the life of a patient. :29

Rothstein says basic science research points to a mechanism whereby more calories may help, another area that warrants more research. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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