Former Pottsgrove School District Public Speaking Teacher Now Vocalizing to Find ALS Cure

Lou Gehrig's Disease patient Todd Kelly
Image via WFMZ 69 News.
Todd Kelly.

A retired Pottsgrove School District public-speaking teacher continues to use his voice for education. He’s participating in studies to treat his own ailment: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Bo Koltnow reported his new direction for WFMZ 69 News.

Todd Kelly, 59, is a medical rarity: He’s one of only 10 percent of ALS patients to survive more than a decade post-diagnosis.

As part of his ALS regimen, Kelly routinely reads text into a computer designed to help identify biomarkers, measurable indicators of his biological state.

“The problem with ALS — unlike many other diseases — is they can’t find a biomarker,” Kelly said.

His routine vocalizations are part of a national speech study by Everything ALS, a Seattle nonprofit working to treat and cure the neurodegenerative disease.

The company’s CEO and founder, Indu Navar, is eagerly hunting a cure; she lost her husband to ALS in 2019 after a years-long effort to diagnose him.

Through her involvement, she hopes to use speech patterns to speed the identification of ALS.

Kelly’s speech-monitoring tactics are open to other patients with Lou Gehrig’s Disease interested in supplying data to advance the search for treatment; details are at Everything ALS.

More information on Todd Kelly’s specific battle is at WFMZ 69 News.


This presentation from an Oregon speech-therapy provider also addresses the link between ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and verbal communication.

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