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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerative disease. These debilitating conditions that affect the neurons in the brain also include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.

A diagnosis of ALS can be challenging for patients and their families. Approximately 3,000 to 5,000 new cases of ALS are diagnosed in the United States each year.

University of Maryland ALS Clinic

The University of Maryland ALS Clinic has provided families the help they need in managing patients' complex and changing medical needs since 2006. One of only two university-based programs in Maryland, we offer a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to care.

Location

University of Maryland Midtown Campus
827 Linden Avenue, 7th floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

Office Hours: Second Tuesday of the month 8 am - 4:30 PM

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 410-225-8837. Patients must be seen by a neurologist in the Neuromuscular division prior to being seen at UMMC Midtown Campus.

ALS Treatment Services

Our team of specialists includes a neurologist, pulmonologist and nutritionist as well as physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapists. Offered monthly, this all-day clinic offers evidence-based care that has been thoroughly researched and proven effective at producing positive outcomes for patients.

Our clinic provides non-invasive ventilation in respiratory failure and neuromuscular disease  as well as pulmonary rehabilitation. Therapy services for those diagnosed with ALS include:

  • Physical
  • Occupational
  • Speech 
  • Respiratory

The ALS Association (ALSA), a national nonprofit organization fighting ALS, has named our program a "Certified Treatment Center of Excellence." This is the highest level of certification for ALS clinics given by ALSA.

ALS Diagnosis and Symptoms

Symptoms usually develop after age 50 but can occur in younger people. Breathing or swallowing muscles may be the first affected. It usually affects one part of the body first, such as the arm or hand.

An increasing loss of muscle strength and coordination makes it impossible to do routine tasks such as climbing stairs, lifting items or getting out of a chair. It does not affect the senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch) and rarely affects bladder or bowel function, eye movement or a person's ability to think or reason.

Other symptoms include:

  • Choking, drooling and gagging
  • Head drop due to weakness of the neck muscles
  • Muscle cramps and contractions
  • Paralysis
  • Slow or abnormal speech patterns (slurring of words)
  • Voice changes, hoarseness
  • Weight loss
Recognized as a certified treatment center of excellence by ALS Association; DC/MD/VA Chapter