Neuromuscular Program

Neuromuscular Diseases are those neurological diseases which affect nervous system structures outside of the brain and the spinal cord pathways going to and from the brain. This includes disorders of motor neurons, peripheral nerves, the neuromuscular junction, and muscle. Care for such disorders is provided through 3 types of specialized outpatient clinics:

 

Penn State Hershey ALS Clinic

The ALS Center is one of the few nationally certified centers across the country providing comprehensive care for ALS patients and families. Meet the team and gain more in depth information about our comprehensive approach.

Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Clinic

Through support from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Penn State neurologists provide care for a variety of neuromuscular diseases supported by the MDA, including muscular dystrophies, metabolic myopathies, inflammatory muscle diseases, congenital myopathies, myasthenia gravis, Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome, inherited neuropathies, and motor neuron diseases, including spinal muscular atrophies and ALS. Patients must be referred by another physician.

Evaluations in MDA clinic: Comprehensive evaluations are conducted, consisting of a review of all records, a comprehensive history and neurological examination, and the ordering and review of necessary tests, which may include some or all of the following: blood and urine tests, electrodiagnostic studies, muscle biopsies, nerve biopsies, spinal taps, CT scans and MRI scans.

Treatment in MDA clinic: Once a diagnosis is made, treatments are offered, many of which must be closely monitored and adjusted by our physicians. Some research treatments may be available as well, such as the use of 3,4-diaminopyridine (DAP) for Lambert-Eaton syndrome and for congenital defects of neuromuscular transmission.

Equipment in MDA clinic: Necessary pieces of medical equipment, including canes, walkers, braces, and wheelchairs are discussed and prescribed as needed. An expert neuromuscular nurse and a team of other health care professionals are available to help coordinate this care, including physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists, nutritionists, experts on wheelchair seating and various braces and other pieces of adaptive equipment.

Payment for services in MDA clinic: Through our affiliation with the MDA, some services are covered by the MDA. These are discussed at the time of the visit.

Research Studies

Methotrexate Study for Patients with Myasthenia Gravis - Methotrexate is an investigational product for use in the treatment of Myasthenia Gravis (MG) and has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for MG but has been approved by the FDA for treatment of other diseases such as cancer.  The purpose of this study is to find out if methotrexate is an effective therapy for MG and if it will allow subjects with MG to use less prednisone.

If you are interested in learning about our clinical research, please contact our study coordinator, Beth Stephens at 717-531-0003, x283395.

MDA Clinic Wins Hope Award for Best Clinic!

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For those patients with neuromuscular diseases not covered by the MDA, we offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment through our Neuromuscular Clinic. Patients must be referred by another physician. Most patients seen in this clinic have peripheral neuropathies. Evaluations are undertaken in a similar manner to those in MDA clinic. Treatment is provided by Penn State neurologists with subspecialty training in neuromuscular diseases.