Rahul Desikan, MD, PhD Talks About His Battle with ALS on ‘Good Morning America’

As a leading researcher of neurogenerative diseases, Rahul Desikan, MD, PhD is now battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), one of the diseases that he studies. His shocking, ironic diagnosis came in 2017. Since then, he has lost his ability to speak and communicates with the help of a computer, but that has not stopped him from working tirelessly to continue his ALS research and promote ALS awareness. His courage in the face of tremendous adversity continues to inspire faculty and scientists at the UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging.


Dr. Desikan and his wife, Maya Vijayaraghavan, MD, MAS, assistant professor of Medicine at UCSF, sat down with ABC News’ Paula Faris to share their emotional story. The interviewed aired live on Friday, November 23 on "Good Morning America."

“I love my work because it makes me feel alive and gives me purpose. I want to really, really beat ALS and this keeps me going,” Dr. Desikan tells Faris with Dr. Vijayaraghavan by his side.

Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues who love and respect him, Dr. Desikan and his team continue to work. The UCSF Laboratory for Precision Neuroimaging combines genetic studies, strong statistical methods and imaging to the study of neurodegenerative diseases.

Since Dr. Desikan’s diagnosis, he has authored or co-authored over 20 papers. Earlier this month he was a senior author on a new study published in Acta Neuropathologica. This study found shared common genetics in individuals with Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease, meaning that this shared biology could be targeted to slow down or prevent both diseases. 

To support Dr. Desikan and the team at the UCSF Laboratory for Precision Neuroimaging please visit this UCSF crowdfunding site to make a donation.

Related Content