Four-year-old Luke Barriger was diagnosed two years ago with Pompe Disease, a rare form of muscular dystrophy, by Dr. Andrea Amalfitano, a Michigan State professor of pediatrics, microbiology and molecular genetics. Luke is alive today due to a drug tested by a research team led by Amalfitano, one of the nation’s few experts on Pompe Disease. In this episode, the network visits with the Barriger family and Amalfitano, whose work is far-ranging, extending to innovative research on treatments for other diseases such as breast and colon cancer.
For more than a century, the letters A-L-S have meant a death sentence, with the disease currently affecting an estimated 350,000 people worldwide. For the last 30 years, Northwestern University’s Dr. Teepu Siddique has dedicated himself to researching the disease and working with patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In August 2011, Siddique and his research team made the most monumental discovery to date in ALS research, opening new doors for finding an effective treatment. Dan Weiler, an attorney and ALS patient, and Aimee Chamernick, a mother of three and ALS patient, talk about the new breakthrough and their hopes for improved odds for future ALS patients.
Frank Fetter will never forget an April evening 2010, alone in the University of Wisconsin-Madison hospital, and more frightened than he’d ever been. No heart attack or stroke, but he learned that one wasn’t far off if he didn’t change his habits. Enter Wisconsin Professor Dr. James Stein, who leads UW Health’s preventive cardiology program, with two techniques to treat at-risk patients. The first step is a vascular heath screening, a breakthrough that allows doctors to literally see inside a patient’s arteries through carotid ultrasound. Next is enrollment in Active Living and Learning (ALL), which is more than a diet and exercise plan. The year-long program offers coaches in nutrition, exercise and medical care to people who are at risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and metabolic syndrome and now serves as the model for several health institutions around the country.