If you or someone you love has been told they have ALS many questions naturally flood your mind, chief among them being:
(1) Do I have ALS or something else?
(2) If I have ALS, is there anything that can be done to slow or halt progression and promote repair of existing damage and restoration of neurologic functioning?
The first question above concerns being properly diagnosed. When it comes to ALS, especially the sporadic variety, the process of arriving at a diagnosis is one of eliminating other possibilities. Sometimes such a diagnosis is overturned when a another, sometimes treatable condition or cause is found such as:
Multifocal motor neuropathy: MMN “..was the most common condition mistaken for ALS, accounting for 7 cases (22%), followed closely by Kennedy disease (4 cases [13%]).” Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis mimic syndromes: a population-based study
Chronic neuroborreliosis (Lyme disease in the CNS): ALS-like sequelae in chronic neuroborreliosis
Other problems to consider, as appropriate, include the following:
- Acute viral infections involving motor neurons: Coxsackie, West Nile, and herpes zoster viruses; polio
- Brainstem syndromes
- Cervical disk syndromes
- Paraneoplastic neuropathy
- Tay-Sachs/GM2 gangliosidosis disease (late onset)
- Central nervous system tumors
- Lead intoxication
- Mercury poisoning
- Copper deficiency myelopathy
- Motor neuropathies
- Multifocal acquired demyelinating neuropathy
- Monomelic amyotrophy
- Spinal cord arteriovenous malformation
- Monoclonal gammopathies
Obviously when it is not clear that a person has ALS, picking up on clues and doing the right tests is vital. Physicians who are highly experienced in diagnostics, especially those who were trained in pathology and worked as pathologists, have an edge over many other doctors. During the early part of his medical career, Dr. Steenblock trained in pathology and worked as a pathologist. He then spent decades homing his “medical sleuthing” skills.
Wouldn’t it be nice though if there was a specific bodily sign or feature whose presence points to ALS and whose absence suggests looking for other conditions? Well, Dr. Steenblock may have uncovered this. How so? After performing a retrospective study of 54 sporadic ALS patients he treated from 2011-2015 he found that 52 of these 54 patients specific, discernible signs of (non-spinal cord) injury/reinjury on cervical-spinal CTs (computed tomography scans).
Scientists and others have connected trauma to the head and back to ALS for many decades now, but none picked up on the specific injury/reinjury Dr. Steenblock did.
Dr. Steenblock’ study has been written up and is being prepared for submission to a major peer reviewed journal. If his conclusions are upheld, his findings will provide doctors, researchers and others with a risk factor, biomarker and possible trigger or cause for sALS.
So when it comes to differentiating ALS from other conditions, Dr. Steenblock has a leg up on other doctors.
But what if it is clear you have ALS or this is the bottom line after Dr. Steenblock completes his tests and CT scans review? Is there anything he can do to help slow progression or even halt it, and then foster repair and restoration of at least some compromised neurologic functioning?
The answer lies in this: The flip side, as it were, of Dr. Steenblock’s discovery of a specific non-spinal cord injury/reinjury pattern in the cervical-spinal area of 52 of 54 sALS sufferers he studied, has opened up new treatment targets. As posited by Dr. Steenblock, the injury/reinjury creates breaches or leaky areas in the spinal-blood barrier which admits various neurotoxic players and activated immune cells. Typically, sALS patients’ have problems in their GI tract and elsewhere (including biofilms) that churn out neurotoxic chemicals, activate various immune cells, and generate inflammatory and proinflammatory compounds (cytokines). These migrate through the spinal-blood brain barrier where they then wreck havoc and kick off processes that are ultimately selectively lethal to motor neurons over time.
To counter all this, it is necessary to foster repair of the spinal-blood breaches and toss monkey wrenches into the pathways and processes that generate inflammatory, proinflammatory, and neurotoxic compounds as well as which activate immune cells (which then get into the CNS and do more harm than good).
For instance, many ALS patients have evidence of the presence of biofilms created by fungal or bacterial microorganisms in their guts and/or central nervous systems. These biofilms churn out all kinds of noxious compounds and are notoriously resistant to being eradicated using high dose antifungal drugs or antibiotics. Dr. Steenblock uses a combination of high tech treatments and specific “biofilm busters”, some natural, to weaken, disperse and then eliminate these biofilms.
As for spinal-blood barrier breaches, Dr. Steenblock employs stem cells (bone marrow aspirate concentrate or BMAC) along with other therapeutic means to promote their repair and closure.
If you or a loved one is suspected of having ALS and wants to learn more about Dr. Steenblock’s innovative diagnostic and treatment work with ALS,
call 949-367-8870 or complete and submit the online form below.