Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurological disease with no known cure. Because it affects all voluntary muscles, individuals can lose their ability to swallow, talk, walk and even breathe on their own.
Through our ALS Clinic, developed in partnership with Hershey Medical Center, local resources are now available to help diagnose and treat the disease – and to provide much-needed support when you need it. All services are provided in a single location at our ALS Clinic, making it easy to get the care you need - when you need it. Free parking is also provided.
ALS can be difficult to diagnose, coming only after a thorough neurological exam and extensive testing. All exams and tests are conducted onsite at the ALS Clinic and performed on an outpatient basis. They may include:
- Sophisticated electrodiagnostic tests, such as electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction velocity (NVC)
- Specialized blood and urine tests
- Spinal tap
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests
- Myelogram to detect abnormalities of the spine, spinal cord or surrounding areas
Muscle and nerve biopsies, conducted at Memorial Medical Center, are also available.
Our ALS Team
The ALS team includes neurologists, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists and nutritionists specially trained in ALS treatment. Our respiratory therapists, with extensive experience in ALS breathing techniques and technology, complete the medical circle.
Social workers and counselors from Conemaugh Regional Hospice help those affected by ALS adjust to the challenges of the disease - and help them embrace the unexpected opportunities that come with each day. Home health and home-based medical equipment services are also available.
The team is directed by Renu Pokharna, MD, an ALS specialist from Hershey Medical Center who meets with ALS patients once a month at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute.
The ALS Clinic hosts a free monthly support group for individuals with ALS, their families, caregivers and friends. This casual forum is a chance to find out about the latest clinical trials, learn new ways to ease the physical and emotional stress of ALS or just get together with special friends who truly understand what you’re going through. Teleconferencing capabilities are available to those who are unable to attend but would like to participate.
Meetings are typically held on the second Tuesday of every month from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm in JPMNPI Community Room, Second Floor, Suite 2400, 1450 Scalp Avenue, Johnstown. To confirm this schedule, please call (814)269-5232.
Additional support and information on complementary therapies to help manage ALS is also available through the Johnstown-based Integrative Medicine Advisory Council (IMAC).
The ALS Clinic is located at:
Conemaugh East Hills
(John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute)
1450 Scalp Avenue
Johnstown, PA 15904
Click here for more information about research studies related to ALS.
Please call us for more information or to schedule an appointment. Additional information can be found at www.alsa.org and www.cure4als.org.