MDA has awarded 10 grants totaling nearly $3.5 million to fund research projects focused on uncovering the causes of and developing therapies for ALS.

The new grants went to investigators at labs in the United States, Canada and Israel.

MDA’s Board of Directors met in Los Angeles July 16, where it reviewed and approved the new grants based on recommendations from the Association’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Committees (SAC and MAC). Grants are scored and recommended for approval based on the capabilities of the applicant, the scientific merit of the project, and the proposal’s relevance to developing treatments for the diseases in MDA’s program. The effective start date for the grants was July 1, 2010.

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With the holidays just around the corner and air travel likely for many families, now is the opportune time for people with disabilities to carefully plan their sojourns.

Learn from others

“Traveling with a disability is not easy, but with some extra preplanning and research, it is completely doable, and well worth it,” says Mike Bougher, 46, of Benicia, Calif., who received an ALS diagnosis in 1998.

In the travel tips section of his website, Bougher addresses air travel with a power wheelchair or ventilator, and even discusses “Wheelchairs in the Rainforests.”

Bougher provides comprehensive details about his travel preparations. For example, he and his wife Jen have wheelchair disassembly down to a fine art for commercial air travel. For the benefit of baggage handlers, the couple’s preparations include attaching two brightly colored laminated signs showing how to set and release the chair’s brakes.

Others with ALS have recounted their travel experiences, both good and bad, and how they made the experience more bearable, on Flyer Talk Forums/ALS Travel Advice. There you’ll find practical advice, such as to bring a blanket and extra socks to keep a person with ALS warm while flying. Noted one contributor, “[The] most important thing to remember is to help preserve his dignity. ALS is a disease of the body, not the mind.”

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All I Know*

When the singer’s gone
Let the song go on
It’s a fine line between the darkness and the dawn
They say in the darkest night
There’s a light beyond

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast, but they pass too slow
I love you, and that’s all I know

For Rich With Love

* Lyrics by Jimmy Webb / Vocals Art Garfunkel

The next ALS TDI Webinar will tackle the topic of familial ALS. This specific form of the disease is inherited between generations. During this hour-long discussion led by Drs. Steve Perrin and Fernando Vieira you will hear about the role of genetics in disease, how that information is used to develop crucial preclinical screening models, as well as current clinical trials specifically aimed at fALS.

Sign-Up Here to Register for the FALS Webinar on September 21 at 4:00PM (EDT)

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