Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Lou Gehrig's Disease

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Duke's ALS Center is one of approximately 100 centers in the world dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. With a hopeful and optimistic approach, our team collaborates to maximize your quality of life and life expectancy.

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Comprehensive Care for ALS

Learning you have ALS can be overwhelming. We understand and are here to help. We go beyond just treating your symptoms by providing a range of services and therapies to help you cope with this diagnosis and to improve your daily quality of life. Our goal is to help you live as full and normal a life as possible.

Clinical Trial Access
We are very active in clinical research studying how to slow and improve ALS symptoms and to learn more about the disease itself. Our providers participate in (and even lead) programs reviewing alternative and off-label ALS treatments and those studying "ALS reversals" -- when ALS progression stops or even reverses, and lost motor function is restored.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Diagnosing ALS

Our doctors conduct a thorough evaluation to ensure that your ALS diagnosis is correct. No single test can diagnose ALS, so we base our diagnosis on a clinical examination and by ruling out all other diseases -- a process known as a differential diagnosis. In addition to a thorough neurological examination, blood and lab tests, and an MRI, your evaluation may include:

Electromyogram (EMG)

A needle electrode is inserted into muscle to measure the electrical activity of muscles at rest and when contracted. This test may be performed in conjunction with a nerve conduction study, during which electrodes are attached to your skin. Several quick electrical pulses are given to the nerve, and the time it takes for the muscle to contract in response is measured.

Treatments for ALS


Riluzole extends ventilator-free survival. Medications for muscle cramps, constipation, pain, depression, and other symptoms may also be prescribed.


We offer physical, occupational, and respiratory therapies delivered by an in-house team of experts who have experience working with ALS patients.

Adaptive Equipment

You may need assistive devices to aid in daily living and to help you maintain independence. We work directly with you and our preferred vendors to help you get the equipment you need and help you learn to use it.

Social Work

A social worker helps you, your family, and the rest of your care team to navigate life with ALS. We assist families with everything from obtaining benefits to receiving emotional support.


A nutritionist helps you overcome obstacles that prevent you from maintaining a healthy diet. They can also help you managing various eating challenges associated with ALS.

Communication and Swallowing Therapy

Because ALS affects both communication and swallowing, our speech pathologists help you either improve your verbal speech production or identify and use an augmentative and alternative communication device. We can also evaluate your swallowing abilities and recommend ways to make swallowing safer and easier.

Best Hospital for Neurology, Neurosurgery in NC

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our neurology and neurosurgery program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

Why Choose Duke

Center of Excellence
Duke's ALS Clinic is recognized as a Certified Treatment Center of Excellence by the ALS Association. This designation indicates that Duke meets rigorous ALS care standards and services with an emphasis on hope and quality of life. 

Shared Decision Making
We work closely together, and in partnership with you and your family, to identify the best treatment options and to make highly personalized recommendations for you.

At each visit, you and your family meet with various experts including neurologists, social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, speech pathologists, and clinic coordinators. This in-depth specialized care yields the best results in the treatment of ALS.

This page was medically reviewed on 06/03/2022 by