067: Dr. Richard Bedlack and Dr. Wissam Mansour of the Duke ALS Clinic Explain the Connection Between ALS and Sleep and Discuss Research Efforts Into ALS Reversals

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Richard Bedlack, a renowned authority on ALS research and patient care, and Dr. Wissam Mansour, a pulmonary specialist who focuses on ALS and sleep. At the Duke ALS Clinic, they are involved in advancing the research and treatments for ALS patients to improve outcomes. Dr. Bedlack shares his knowledge of the potential connection between sleep disorders and ALS, and his research into alternative therapies that may have led to ALS reversals in certain patients. Dr. Mansour discusses the importance of screening ALS patients for sleep disorders and the necessity of proactive measures for treatment.


Dr. Richard Bedlack is a Professor of Neurology at Duke and Director of the Duke ALS Clinic. He has won awards for teaching and patient care, including best Neurology teacher at Duke, Health Care Hero, Strength Hope and Caring Award, America’s Best Doctor, the American Academy of Neurology Patient Advocate of the Year, and the Rasmussen ALS Patient Advocate of the Year. He has received ALS research grants, participated in ALS clinical trials, and published more than 100 ALS articles.  He is the leader of the international ALSUntangled program which utilizes social networking to investigate alternative and off-label treatment options for patients with ALS, and the leader of the ALS Reversals program which attempts to understand why some people with ALS recover from it, and to make this happen more often. He lives in Durham, North Carolina with his wife Shelly and two mischievous cats.

Dr. Wissam Mansour is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine at Duke University. His clinical and research interests are focused on sleep-related breathing disorders and neuromuscular lung disease. He is particularly interested in advancing our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to sleep-disordered breathing and allowing for a more targeted treatment approach.

In this episode, we discuss:

🧬 How Dr. Richard Bedlack came to ALS research and why he developed a multi-disciplinary team at Duke for ALS care.

🧬 Dr. Wissam Mansour’s journey from pulmonary critical care, to sleep training, to joining Dr. Bedlack’s ALS team at Duke.

🧬 Exploring the possible connection between ALS and sleep disorders

🧬 Sleep-related breathing disorders, insomnia, and sleep movement disorders in ALS patients

🧬 How sleep disorders can potentially impact quality of life and length of life in people with ALS

🧬 The genetic factors that link ALS, sleep-wake cycles, and parts of the brain involved in sleep.

🧬 Screening ALS patients for general sleep problems and dealing with ALS-specific sleep disorders

🧬 How accumulating CO2 levels during an ALS patient’s sleep can cause other serious health issues

🧬 The importance of proactive measures for treating sleep problems in ALS patients

🧬 Demystifying the types of non-invasive ventilation options for people with ALS

🧬 Dr. Bedlack discusses his experience with alternative and off-label therapies for ALS

🧬 Creating the ALSUntangled program to investigate alternative therapies and provide patients with a better understanding of treatment options

🧬 Dr. Bedlack’s research into ALS reversals and patients who have completely recovered from the disease

🧬 How melatonin, a supplement usually taken for sleep regulation, can suppress neuroinflammation that can be relevant to ALS

🧬 The potential link between poor sleep quality and other disorders like Parkinson’s and ALS

🧬 The far-reaching impacts of ALS on sleep, both for the patients and their families

🧬 A discussion on the value of wearables to track sleep metrics for ALS patients

🧬 The variety of ALS symptoms that can affect sleep quality

🧬 Dr. Bedlack and Dr. Mansour share their personal sleep routines and what is on their nightstands right now

Mentioned Resources

Guest contacts



Complete a short assessment to test the quality of your sleep

Free & Customized Actionable Strategies for Changing How You Sleep
Start the assessment