A comprehensive, patient-driven ALS Association clinic at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston aims to improve upon the status quo for sufferers of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's disease."

This week, the multidisciplinary ALS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine begins a new affiliation with the national ALS Association to provide greater comprehensive care for patients with the neuromuscular disorder.

"Patients with ALS can receive outpatient treatment with a multidisciplinary approach to the problem," said Dr. Yadollah Harati, professor of neurology at BCM and medical director of the ALS Clinic. "The clinic will make every effort to make treatment as effective as possible with a minimum of financial burden for patients."

The ALS Clinic will enlist experts in diverse fields (including respiratory, speech, occupational, physical, psycho-social, and dietary) and will give special attention to patient's emotional needs by alerting them to all medical and community resources available.

"If patients want to come to the Baylor ALS clinic for a second opinion, we would be happy to review their medical records," said Harati. "We don't require that they repeat the same tests, which are extensive and expensive."

In addition to improving patient care, members of the clinic team will also devote their resources to research, focusing on the causes and treatment of ALS.

"We want to continue the tradition of excellent care and teaching of ALS at Baylor College of Medicine using a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to ALS, keeping in mind the physical, psychological, and financial health of the individual afflicted by this," said Harati.

Harati is also director of the Muscle and Nerve Pathology Laboratory and the Neuropathy Clinic at BCM. He has conducted a number of clinical studies on ALS, Myasthenia Gravis, diabetic neuropathies and other peripheral neuropathies.

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Harati as our medical director for our ALS Clinic," said Linda Richardson, president of the Houston ALS chapter. "His sensitivity and commitment to our patients needs is extraordinary."

The goal of the new ALS Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine, and the ALS Association (on both the national level and in the Greater Houston Chapter) is to provide excellent care and teaching while taking into account the physical, psychological, and financial health of patients and their families. The ALS Association is the only national not-for-profit voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS.

To schedule an appointment at the new ALS Clinic, call 713-798-7419.