May 11, 2020

Neurology Today Highlights Drs. Feldman & Goutman's Environmental Call to Action

The official news source of the American Academy of Neurology notes Drs. Feldman and Goutman's JAMA Neurology article in discussing the argument that establishing a national reportable registry for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would help promote more research, specifically, on environmental toxins associated with the disease.

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Neurologists Call for ALS Registry to Research Environmental Toxins Associated with Disease

image of pollution from a Neurology Today article that quotes Dr. Eva Feldman of the NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies

Thomas R. Collins, Neurology Today

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) celebrates its 50th anniversary, neurologists say that heightened awareness of, and research into, environmental factors contributing to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is overdue; they are calling on federal officials to require that all ALS cases be reported to a national database.

Drs. Feldman and Goutman
Drs. Eva Feldman and Stephen Goutman

Eva L. Feldman, MD, PhD, FAAN, director of the ALS Center of Excellence at the University of Michigan, who has led research connecting pesticides to ALS incidence and severity, wrote a recent editorial for JAMA Neurology in which she urged clinicians to sharpen their focus on the disease's environmental triggers. She also underscored the need for a more complete data set on the disease by way of mandatory reporting.

“Those that treat, research, and advocate for persons with ALS will not be silenced, and it is with this impetus that we focus our attention on the environmental factors that influence ALS,” she wrote, with co-author Stephen Goutman, MD, MS, associate professor of neurology at University of Michigan. “This is of critical importance because we need to better elucidate ALS pathologic mechanisms to identify modifiable disease risks to lower incidence and develop treatments to improve patient outcomes.”

Dr. Feldman said the EPA anniversary made it “a good time for a call for action.”

“Our concern is that we're in certainly no better condition now,” she said in an interview. “If anything, the environmental conditions have deteriorated in the last 50 years.”

portrait of Dr. Eva Feldman

Eva Feldman, MD, PhD

James W. Albers Distinguished University Professor of Neurology
Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology
Director, NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies
Director, ALS Center of Excellence
Stephen Goutman, MD, photo

Stephen Goutman, MD, MS

Director, Pranger ALS Clinic
Associate Director, ALS Center of Excellence
Associate Professor of Neurology
Department of Neurology
Ann Arbor MI 48109-2200
Pathogenesis and Clinical Care for ALS