In This Article
- A high correlation between body mass index and survival after amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis makes it critical for ALS patients to consume a recommended quantity of calories daily
- Incorporating a monitoring-health application into nutritional counseling can increase calorie intake in ALS patients
- The results of a clinical trial show that the rate of disease progression for patients using a diet monitoring app is half as fast as that of patients receiving standard care
Patients living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can maintain or improve their body weight more effectively by using a diet monitoring app than by receiving standard care, according to the results of a Massachusetts General Hospital clinical study.
Anne-Marie Wills, MD, MPH, director of the CurePSP Center of Care and clinical investigator at the Healey Center for ALS at Mass General, and Eric Macklin, PhD, assistant in biostatistics at Mass General, and colleagues conducted a clinical trial with the support of the ALS Association that compared the efficacy of a monitoring-health application versus in-person nutritional counseling to maintain or improve body weight in those with ALS. The results of the study show that the use of a diet monitoring app may help these patients increase calorie intake and slow down the progression of the disease.
Weight loss can occur in ALS patients for a variety of reasons, including difficulty swallowing and decreased appetite. There is also a high correlation between body mass index and survival after diagnosis. If a patient's calorie intake decreases, the progression of the disease can accelerate, making it critically important for ALS patients to consume a recommended quantity of calories per day.
As part of the EAT MORE Phase 2 trial, 80 patients diagnosed with ALS were randomly assigned one of three nutritional counseling interventions. Participants received counseling by their physician or nurse (standard care), counseling by a registered dietitian (RD), or counseling supported by a monitoring-health application.
At the end of the six-month trial, researchers found that the rate of disease progression among participants using a monitoring-health application was half as fast as that of standard care recipients. Participants using a monitoring-health application consumed 344 kcal more per day on average than those who received standard care. Participants who received in-person consultation with an RD consumed on average 286 kcal more per day on average than those who received standard care.
Researchers concluded that incorporating a monitoring-health application in care for ALS patients would be largely beneficial, given the low risk and likelihood of increasing calorie intake associated with the method.
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