Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Creates Center for Lou Gehrig's Disease Research Founder of Als Charity Provides Funds Founder of Als Charity Provides Funds

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitt Creates Center for Lou Gehrig's Disease Research Founder of Als Charity Provides Funds Founder of Als Charity Provides Funds

Article excerpt

Officials at the University of Pittsburgh today announced the creation of the Live Like Lou Center for ALS Research that will work to find treatments and a cure for the devastating neurological disease.

Neil and Suzanne Alexander, the founders of the Live Like Lou charity, have pledged to raise $2.5 million over the next five years, and Pitt will match that in an effort to raise $10 million for the new center, which will be housed in the university's Brain Institute, created a year ago.

Mr. Alexander was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in June 2011. Since that time, he and his wife created their organization to raise money and awareness about ALS.

Mr. Alexander's determination to remain as independent as possible while raising funds has been detailed in a series of stories in The Pittsburgh Press.

"I've slowly lost the ability to walk, to stand, to care for myself, to feed myself, bathe myself and dress myself," Mr. Alexander said today.

But, he believes that with Pitt's history of ground-breaking medical research, the university will be able to use the center and funds raised from it to find a solution.

"Let's be clear, we're not doing this for Neil Alexander. We understand our situation. We're doing this for the next guy, the next father, the next husband, who looks down and realizes the muscles in his left arm have been twitching uncontrollably," he said. "We think that journey starts today."

Among the work that the center will do is recruit an expert in the neurobiology of ALS, develop a non-human primate model of the disease; explore brain-computer interface technology to foster patient independence, award annual innovator grants and create a prototype of a 'smart house' to test neuro-technologies and neuro- prostheses in a real-life home setting. …

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