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University of Ulm

Prof. Dr. A. C. Ludolph
Department of Neurology University of Ulm Oberer Eselsberg 45
D-89081 Ulm
Germany
Tel: 0049-731-1771201
Fax: 0049-731-1771202
E-mail: albert.ludolph@rku.de

ALS Clinic

The clinic for Motoneuron Diseases of the Department of Neurology, University of Ulm focuses on diagnosis and differential diagnosis and the full spectrum of symptomatic therapeutic options of all subtypes of motoneuron disease, both in the outpatient clinic as well as in an in-patient setting. We offer all modern and advanced diagnostic tools, including the complete electrophysiological work-up, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spinal cord (1.5 T with 24/7 availability) and other tools of modern neuroimaging, in addition an own laboratory for complete cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diagnostics and an own laboratory for diagnostic work-up of muscle biopsies. The diagnostic spectrum includes genetic counseling (in cooperation with the Institute of Human Genetics, amongst others) with respect to familiar forms of ALS and other rare genetic causes of MND.
The therapeutic team including doctors, nurses and further members such as physiotherapists are specialized and experienced in the particular challenges and needs of MND patients. One dedicated focus is palliative care for MND patients with respect to both initiation and individual optimisation of non-invasive ventilation as well as nutritional concepts for dysphagic patients, including high standards of diagnostics (e.g., fiberendoscopic evaluation of swallowing) and PEG tube-based nutrition. Close cooperations exist both with lay groups, with local providers of technical support, and with local home care services in order to provide our patients with caring facilities.
The ALS team consists of the following individuals:

Prof. A.C. Ludolph
Prof. J. Kassubek
Prof. P. Andersen (1.4.2010)
Dr. Ulrike Weiland
Dr. Johannes Dorst
Dr. Corinna Hendrich
Dr. Stefan Waibel
Dr. Wilhelm Fischer (Clinical Study Center)
Sabine Raubold (Study Nurse)
Melanie Meier (Study Nurse)
PD Ingo Uttner (Neuropsychology)
Dorothee Lule (Neuropsychology)
Johanna Heimrath (Neuropsychology)
Sonja Sorg (Neuropsychology)
Prof. Axel Riecker (Bulbar Function)
Falk Schradt (logopedia)
Gabi Jeni (Occupational therapy)
Tina Reitberger (physical therapy)

Research Lines

Research activities include on the one hand international multicenter drug intervention trials, coordinated by the own clinical trial center (with one full-time study coordinator (Dr. Wilhelm Fischer), many study nurses and documentarians). Many recent clinical trials in MND have been conceptually influenced by our activities, in addition there is substantial experience in the performance of investigator-initiated trials. On the other hand, research on the etiology of MND is performed including genetic studies, developing new animal models for MND, neuropathological studies (Prof. D. Thal, Prof. H. Braak) and the functional investigation of human tissue of various organs (including CSF, muscle and skin). We have established documentation system for our phenotypes (currently > 3000), a gene bank comprising > 2500 immortalized samples (including > 200 families) and a biobank comprising skin and muscle samples, blood and CSF samples. One particular clinical research focus is on MND-associated metabolic changes, nutritional status of parenterally fed patients and improvement of non-invasive ventilation. With respect to neuroimaging-based research, especially the correlation of brain structures and function is investigated, including both the application of all advanced MRI-based techniques and functional neuroimaging for the analysis of cognitive and behavioural changes. In addition, various activities focus on research with respect to the process of end of life decisions and emotional behaviour.
Experimental studies focus on novel therapeutics, the role of motor proteins, cellular mechanisms (iPS-cells) and synaptogenesis (Dr. B. Schwalenstöcker, Dr. S. Liebau, Prof. T. Böckers, Prof. S. Jablonka)

Top 10 Publications

  1. Fernández-Santiago R, Sharma M, Berg D, Illig T, Anneser J, Meyer T, Ludolph AC, Gasser T. No evidence of association of FLJ10986 and ITPR2 with ALS in a large German cohort. (Neurobiol Aging 2010, in press)
  2. Ludolph AC, Bendotti C, Blaugrund E, Chio A, Greensmith L, Loeffler JP, Mead R, Niessen H G., Petri S, Pradat PF, Robberecht W, Ruegg M, Schwalenstöcker B, Stiller D, Van den Berg L, Vieira F, von Hoersten S. Guidelines for Preclinical Animal Research in ALS/MND II - A Consensus Meeting. (Amyotroph Lateral Sc 2010, in press)
  3. Müller HP, Lule D, Unrath A, Ludolph AC, Riecker A, Kassubek J. Complementary image analysis of diffusion tensor imaging and 3-dimensional T1-weighted imaging: White mater analysis in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (J Neuroimaging 2010, in press)
  4. Steinacker P, Hawlik A, Lehnert S, Jahn O, Meier S, Goerz E, Braunstein K, Krzovska M, Schwalenstöcker B, Proepper C, Boeckers T, Ludolph AC, Otto M. Neuroprotective function of cellular prion protein in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Am J Pathol 2010; in press).
  5. Van Es MA, Veldink JH, Saris CGJ, Blauw HM, van Vught PWJ, Birve A, Lemmens R, Schelhaas HJ, Groen E, Huisman MHB, can der Kooi AJ, de Visser M, Rivadeneira F, Hofman A, Rujescu D, Strengman E, Goldstein D, Muglia P, Slowik A, Uitterlinden AG, Hendrich C, Waibel S, Meyer T, Ludolph AC, Glass JD, Purcell S, Landers J, Vermeulen SHM, Kiemeney LA, Wokke JHJ, Cronin S, Hardiman O, Fumoto K, Pasterkamp RJ, Meininger V, Melki J, Leigh PN, Shaw CE, Al-Chalabi A, Brown RH, Robberecht W, Andersen PM, Ophoff RA, van den Berg LH. Genome-wide association study identifies UNC13A and 9p21.2 as susceptibility loci for sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nature Genetics 2009,41:1083-1087
  6. Soukup GR, Sperfeld AD, Uttner I, Karitzky J, Ludolph AC, Kassubek J, Schreiber H. Frontotemporal cognitive function in X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA): a controlled neuropsychological study of 20 patients. J Neurol 2009; 256(11):1869-75.
  7. Fernández-Santiago R, Hoenig S, Lichtner P, Sperfeld AD, Sharma M, Berg D, Weichenrieder O, Illig T, Eger K, Meyer T, Anneser J, Münch C, Zierz S, Gasser T, Ludolph AC. Identification of novel Angiogenin (ANG) gene missense variants in German patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Neurol 2009;256(8):1337-42
  8. Dupuis L, Fergani A, Braunstein KE, Eschbach J, Holl N, Rene F, Gonzalez De Aguilar JL, Zoerner B, Schwalenstoecker B, Ludolph AC, Loeffler JP. Mice with a mutation in the dynein heavy chain 1 gene display sensory neuropathy but lack motor neuron disease. Exp Neurol 2009;215:146-52
  9. Kühnlein P, Gdynia HJ, Sperfeld AD, Lindner-Pfleghar B, Ludolph AC, Prosiegel M, Riecker A. Diagnosis and treatment of bulbar symptoms in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nat Clin Pract Neurol 2008; 4:366-74.
  10. Kühnlein P, Sperfeld AD, Vanmassenhove B, Van Deerlin V, Lee VM, Trojanowski JQ, Kretzschmar HA, Ludolph AC, Neumann M. Two German kindreds with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis due to TARDBP mutations. Arch Neurol 2008; 65:1185-89.