Bay Ridge

NYU Lutheran opens ALS center in Bay Ridge

January 25, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The NYU Lutheran ALS Center team, led by Dr. Anthony Geraci (fourth from right), stands ready to address the health needs for people with ALS. Photo courtesy of NYU Lutheran
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Patients suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) face long odds of survival, but in an effort to improve the odds, NYU Lutheran has opened a new center in Bay Ridge to provide a wide array of treatments.

The new NYU Lutheran ALS Center at 8714 Fifth Ave. is the first inclusive ALS center in the outer boroughs, according to hospital officials. Located in the NYU Lutheran Medical Arts Pavilion, the new center will offer patients access to occupational, physical, respiratory and speech therapists, along with a team of neurologists, neuropsychologists and social workers. In addition, orthotic consultation will be available without having to leave the building.

Dr. Anthony Geraci, who, as a neurologist, has been treating patients with ALS for 20 years, is the head of the new center.

Geraci said he has long wanted to create a center where it is easy for ALS patients to receive the care they need. 

“I wanted to build a place where I can directly help a patient through each stage of their treatment,” said Geraci, who said treating ALS is about more than just physical care. “Our role as doctors is to not only diagnose and treat patients, but also hold their hands and be there for them through it all. That is very much a part of the healing process.”

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

The early symptoms are muscle twitching, weakness in an arm or leg and slurring of speech. Eventually, ALS affects the ability to control the muscles, rendering one unable to walk, speak or eat without assistance. There is no cure for ALS.

The disease killed baseball legend Lou Gehrig in 1941 and is sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

In the summer of 2014, millions of people around the world took part in an ALS challenge in which one had to either endure having a bucket of ice water tossed onto him or her or donate money to the ALS Association.

Dr. Salman Azhar, chief of neurology and rehabilitation at NYU Lutheran and vice chair of neurology and rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center, hailed the new ALS Center as a critical resource being made available to the people of Brooklyn.

“We’re in the midst of an extensive expansion of our neurology services and we’re going even further to reach those most in need of high-quality care,” Azhar said. “If we’re able to make life more comfortable for just one ALS patient, we’ve achieved our goal.” 

For more information, call 718-630-8600 or visit

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