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He said specialized care and nutrition worked better than current drugs and could extend ALS patients' lives by a couple of years.
Scientists don't completely understand the cause of ALS, and Swash said more research is needed on how it evolves. "The chance of finding a treatment without understanding the disease is very small," he said.
Britain's Motor Neurone Association is funding another lithium study. They insisted the drug might still be worthwhile. "To stop our UK trial at this stage would throw away the real possibility that lithium might still have a significant benefit," Brian Dickie, the association's director of research development, said in a statement.
Aggarwal was unconvinced lithium might prove to have a major benefit on ALS, but said it was possible the drug could be combined with other therapies. "We have to look for small gains with ALS," she said. "But at this point there is no reason for patients to take lithium."
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