People and families affected by ALS are finally seeing a glimmer of hope. The deadly illness, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, destroys nerve cells and muscle control. There is currently no cure.
However, a new treatment has been shown to slow and even stop its progression.
The Deanna Protocol
Anthony Topazi knows all about beating the odds. Following Hurricane Katrina, as president of Mississippi Power Company, he got the lights back on in a jaw-dropping 12 days.
"We did it," he proclaimed to his employees. "We did the impossible."
But an even bigger challenge came a short time later when he was diagnosed with ALS.
"There is no hope," Anthony said as he recalled his initial visits with doctors.
He could hardly swallow. Soon he wouldn't even be able to breathe.
"I went through a period of depression, no question about that," he admitted. "But then I decided I had to do something about it. I went on a relentless search for anything I could find that might help me."
He came across a little-known treatment called "The Deanna Protocol."
"Just by the grace of God," he said.
He gave it a try, hoping to slow down his body's deterioration, and was amazed when it actually reversed his symptoms.
"Six months ago I had a problem with excess saliva. I don't have that problem today. My voice is better than it was. It's not perfect, but it's better than it was," he told CBN News.
"I couldn't drink water or take a pill without feeling like I was going to choke to death," he continued. "Today I'm taking 30 pills a day and I don't even think about it. I could only eat soft foods six months ago. I'm eating steak, ribs, anything I want today."
The Deanna Protocol is relatively unheard of because one doctor created it at home for one patient: his daughter, Deanna.
Five years ago, Deanna Tedone-Gage was enjoying life as a new bride and a young attorney, when her doctor said she didn't have long to live.
"He said you have ALS. And at that moment I felt like I left my body," she recalled.
Her father, Dr. Vincent Tedone, stepped in.
"We took her to all the various citadels that specialize in ALS," he said. "And to my chagrin there was nothing that could be done for her."
Not willing to accept defeat, Dr. Tedone left his job as a surgeon to find a solution. After years of trial-and-error, he developed a treatment that stopped the progression of Deanna's ALS.
"I call myself the resident guinea pig," Deanna joked.
The main ingredient in The Deanna Protocol is the energy-boosting supplement, AKG.
"So we put her on the AKG and then we ran out of it," Dr. Tedone described the treatment. "Within one day her tremors became unbelievable. Got some more, put her back on it, the tremors subsided."
The Deanna Protocol requires working the muscles with cardio and weight lifting, then massaging them with coconut oil.
Scientists Still Unconvinced
Although testimonials like these are encouraging, they're not enough for most doctors to recommend The Deanna Protocol to their ALS patients.
That's because many doctors consider anecdotal evidence unreliable and will only recommend a treatment to their patients if has been scientifically researched.
That research is now underway on The Deanna Protocol. Scientists at the University of South Florida, led by Dr. Dominic D'Agostino, are studying its effects on mice with ALS.
"We're using an ALS model, a mouse model of ALS that is considered by most ALS researchers as the gold standard, in that the pathology in the ALS mice is very similar to the pathology in humans," he explained.
If The Deanna Protocol slows ALS in lab mice, that could lead doctors to recommend it for their human patients, something Deanna said would turn her trial into a blessing.
"I have a strong faith. Things happen for a reason," Deanna said. "Maybe, just maybe, I got this so my dad would get involved, and this would eventually lead to a treatment that would save people's lives until a cure was found."
** To request further information about the Deanna Protocol please contact Dr. Vincent Tedone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Originally published November 28, 2012.