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High calorie diet offers hope for motor neurone disease

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A high calorie diet may slow down the deadly progression of motor neurone disease, research has shown.

The condition, suffered by top physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting the nerve cells that control muscles.

Loss of weight is a common symptom of motor neurone disease, also known as Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (AML).

Now a new study has found that a diet rich in carbohydrates and calories can reduce serious adverse events suffered by patients, including death from respiratory failure.

Patients given the high-carb diet also gained slightly more weight than those fed a normal diet.

Dr Anne-Marie Wills, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who led the research published in The Lancet journal, said: “There is good epidemiological evidence that, in ALS, survival is determined by nutritional status.

Dr Anne-Marie Wills

Dr Anne-Marie Wills

“This pilot study demonstrates the safety of a novel, simple, low-cost treatment for a devastating disease where, currently, very few treatment options are available. The adverse outcomes that we feared might result from weight gain, such as diabetes or heart disease, were not observed in our study period of five months.”

The authors point out that the findings should be interpreted “with caution” and have called for larger trials.

The study involved 20 patients at 12 centres in North America, Ireland and Israel.

Previous research has found that mildly obese ALS patients tend to live longer. Animal studies have also shown that mice with the condition live longer when fed a calorie-rich fatty diet.

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • My mother was diagnosed with ALS in May 2014. Her doctor put her on riluzole, letting her know there was no cure but the medication might provide her a few more months of delayed symptoms. ALS progresses at different rates and affects different body parts first. My mother, being 80 at the time, fell into a category of what they call "fast progression" (older female). Her arms weakened first, then her hands, her mouth, and throat, and finally her lungs. Throughout her two-and-a-half-year ordeal, she was able to walk with assistance. All the while she continued to take the riluzole. If it bought my mother any time, we will never know. Her neurologist told us that if she couldn't afford it, there was no real need to take it. She lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medication I took her off the riluzole (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started her on the ALS natural herbal formula we ordered from GREEN HOUSE HERBAL CLINIC, We spoke to few people who used the treatment here in Canada and they all gave a positive response, her symptoms totally declined over a 7 weeks use of the Green House ALS disease natural herbal formula. She is now almost 83 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed! (Visit their website) I am thankful to nature, herbs are truly gift from God. Share with friends!!

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