Michigan Medicine is home to the Pranger Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Clinic), which provides multidisciplinary care to hundreds of ALS patients each year. Thanks to the collaborative relationship between Michigan Medicine and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Michigan Medicine neurologists also care for VA patients with ALS.
Dr. Dustin Nowacek, a Michigan Medicine neurologist, became director of the VA Ann Arbor ALS Clinic earlier this month, taking over for his colleague, Dr. Brian Callaghan.
“Dr. Callaghan has developed a remarkable multidisciplinary ALS clinic at the VA,” says Nowacek, who is director of Michigan Medicine’s Adult Muscular Dystrophy Association Clinic and Adult Charcot-Marie-Tooth Clinic. “I am honored to join this incredible team, and have the opportunity to serve and care for veterans with ALS.”
The VA Ann Arbor ALS Clinic cares for 20-30 veterans. The clinic’s multidisciplinary team includes a neurologist, pulmonologist, physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, dietitian, speech pathologist, social worker and respiratory therapist.
ALS was established as a service-connected condition in 2008. Veterans with ALS may receive support for themselves and their families through the Department of Veterans Affairs. This allows for coverage of home health aides, home modifications, prescriptions, medical devices, wheelchairs, wheelchair accessible vans and other assistance.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that progressively destroys nerve function throughout the brain and spinal card until it becomes impossible to move, speak or breathe. ALS affects more than 30,000 people in the United States. The typical life expectancy is 2-5 years after diagnosis.