Patent of the Week: Detecting ALS Earlier and More Accurately

Patent of the Week

The director of epilepsy research at the University of Chicago and an assistant professor of neurology, Naoum Issa focuses on detecting and diagnosing neurologic disorders – applying techniques used for seizure diagnosis to detect other neurological disorders, including ALS.

A paralyzing fatal disease, ALS presents with upper motor neuron (UMN) abnormality, for which there is no simple test. However, according to the researchers, intermuscular coherence (IMC) – a measure to quantify muscle activity – has been able to distinguish between healthy patients and those with an upper motor neuron disorder. This suggests it could be useful for detecting ALS, which the researchers demonstrated in clinical studies.

The associated patent-pending product is a biomarker and method of detecting and monitoring ALS in addition to other motor neuron diseases.

“IMC is simple to perform using a conventional EMG machine and may become a valuable biomarker or screening test for ALS,” the researchers explained in a paper. The testing can be conducted using pre-existing EMG sensors and requires minimal training to administer.

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// Patent of the Week is a weekly column highlighting research and inventions from University of Chicago faculty.

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