07:12pm Monday 23 October 2017

Able only to move his eyes, physician/researcher shares inspiring story

Able only to move his eyes, physician/researcher shares inspiring  story

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Scott Mackler ran marathons, practiced internal medicine and conducted breakthrough research on cocaine addiction before disturbing symptoms appeared that would change his life.

Scott Mackler, M.D., Ph.D. with his family. Mackler will lecture at Ford Auditorium in University Hospital on Friday.

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At age 40, Mackler was diagnosed in 1999 with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that destroys nerve cells controlling movement. There is no cure.

 But despite being dependent on a respirator and able to only move his eyes, Mackler continues his research and runs his lab at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology.

 Mackler, M.D., Ph.D., is able to continue his work and share his story using Brain Interface Communication technology that allows him to create words on a computer using only his thoughts. He’ll use that technology to share his story in a special lecture at 5:15 p.m. Friday sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Department of Internal Medicine at Ford Auditorium in University Hospital, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive in Ann Arbor.

 The event is open to the public.

 A. Mark Fendrick, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Health Management and Policy at U-M, has known Mackler for over 30 years. Fendrick says Mackler’s courage and dedication to his family and friends are inspiring.

 “Scott and his family have touched thousands of lives doing everything from raising money for ALS research to passing along a living example that anything is possible for those willing to try,” says Fendrick, who also is co-director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.

 Mackler’s story was documented on a CBS 60-Minutes segment, which can be viewed here.

Mackler suffers from what physicians called “locked-in” syndrome but with the Brain Interface Communication device, it is evident his mind is still sharp. The system was developed by neuroscientist Jonathan Wolpaw, M.D., at New York State’s Wadsworth Center and works through a cap fitted with electrodes that sits on the scalp.

 Fendrick encourages anyone to attend Friday’s lecture and hear Mackler’s story.

 “This is an amazing opportunity to hear from someone who’s fought against almost insurmountable odds to continue his career and commitment to his family ,” Fendrick says.

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Media contact: Mary Masson
E-mail: mfmasson@med.umich.edu
Phone: 734-764-2220


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