ALS Physician Honored Through Generosity of Sanofi-Aventis

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Newswise — Sanofi-aventis, maker of the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drug for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Rilutekâ„¢, proudly agreed to provide financial support in the amount of $125,000 to establish the Richard K. Olney Lectureship. Dr. Richard K. Olney, a now nationally known figure, has dedicated his life to finding a cure for ALS. Ironically, in June 2004, he was diagnosed with ALS. Now with the help of this lectureship, Dr. Olney's dedication to ALS will continue and he will always be remembered for his work in neuromuscular diseases.

ALS, a neuromuscular disorder, strikes 1 out of every 50,000 Americans each year giving any individual a 1 in 1000 risk of being diagnosed during their lifetime. Life expectancy of ALS patients averages 2 to 5 years after diagnosis. Olney is currently a subject in a clinical trial that he designed, to determine if one of two existing drugs can extend life expectancy. Olney refused to insist that he be guaranteed the drug that could possibly prolong his life and therefore he could be receiving a placebo. Olney is currently in a powered wheel chair and has the ability to speak with the aid of a computer. His courage lifts the spirit of those around him every day.

Dr. Olney has touched the lives of physicians and patients all over the world who have worked with him, learned from him, have been inspired by him, and who have been cared for by him. Articles about Dr. Olney's fight against ALS have been written in People magazine, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, aired on ABC World News Tonight, 20/20, CNN, and local newspapers across the United States.

With the financial support from sanofi-aventis, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Foundation will establish an endowment to fund the Richard K. Olney Lectureship at the AANEM Annual Scientific Meeting. The AANEM meeting is the premier event for physicians who diagnose and treat patients with neuromuscular disorders. The lectureship will celebrate Dr. Olney's life, and continue his work of educating physicians, as well as keep his memory and goals alive for years to come. Dr. Olney is a distinguished member of the AANEM and served as a member of the Board of Directors to both the AANEM Foundation and AANEM. The AANEM is honored that it can do something to perpetuate Dr. Olney's work.

The Richard K. Olney Lectureship will be announced at the AANEM's annual meeting, September 23, 2005, at 1:50 pm in Monterey, California. Dr. Olney will be on hand to personally acknowledge the establishment of the lectureship in his name. "We are delighted that we will be able to honor Rick this way," said Dr. Gary Goldberg, AANEM President. "He has been an inspiration to all of us and, through his willingness to go public with his diagnosis of ALS with such candor, has raised everyone's awareness of this devastating disease."

The AANEM is the largest organization worldwide, with nearly 5000 physician members, dedicated to advancing neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and electrodiagnostic medicine.


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