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    In the Loop: Sandra Murphy-Pak and the Xavier Project — creating the future of living with ALS

In the Loop patient Sandra Murphy-PakSandra Murphy-Pak is not taking amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, lying down. Far from it, in fact. As we noted this past January, she's not letting the disease stand in the way of her life as an artist. She's also helping to create "better therapies, if not a cure, for those diagnosed with ALS in the future" by continually donating tissue and blood samples to Mayo Clinic so that researchers can continue their search for answers.

As the Florida Times-Union reports, Sandra's also been helping Mayo researchers and her fellow ALS patients in another way: by participating in a clinical trial aimed at letting ALS patients maintain some independence, and personal mobility, for as long as they can. The trial is allowing patients to move a wheelchair using nothing more than the muscles in their face, which as the paper reports, are "typically the ones that can still be used even after other parts of the body can no longer move."

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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.