Zachary Simmons, MD

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    1986 …2024

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research interests

    Dr. Zachary Simmons' primary research focus is on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease). He has published extensively on quality of life in ALS and was the co-developer of the ALS Specific Quality of Life Instrument. Related to this, he has published on ethics of care and end-of-life issues.

    Telemedicine, including both synchronous videoconferencing and asynchronous remote monitoring initiatives, are being pursued in collaboration with colleagues in engineering and in speech and communications. These include initiatives in home pulmonary function testing, monitoring of gait and falls and monitoring of speech and swallowing.

    Cognitive and behavioral dysfunction in ALS are other active areas of Dr. Simmons' research, including the use of an instrument to measure apathy and the study of a mindfulness program to improve quality of life and to decrease anxiety and depression.

    Dr. Simmons is also actively involved in ALS clinical trials, and has served as the site principal investigator for many studies during the past two decades.


    Clinical interests

    Dr. Zachary Simmons' primary clinical interests are in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease) and other motor neuron disorders.

    The multidisciplinary ALS clinic at Penn State Health that he founded nearly 30 years ago, and currently directs, is an ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence, where more than 200 patients with ALS and other motor neuron disorders receive regular care from a highly trained group of physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.

    In the clinic, Dr. Simmons evaluates newly-referred patients for possible ALS and sees them for follow-up care. Patients with related disorders such as primary lateral sclerosis, progressive muscular atrophy, progressive bulbar palsy and hereditary spastic paraplegia are also seen regularly.

    Dr. Simmons continues to provide ongoing care for patients with a variety of other neuromuscular disorders and to perform electrodiagnostic studies (nerve conduction studies and electromyography, or EMG).


    Professional information

    Board-certified in neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1989

    Board-certified in electrodiagnostic medicine, American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine, 1989

    Dr. Zachary Simmons also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Humanities, Penn State College of Medicine.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    EMG and Neuromuscular Diseases, Fellowship, University of Michigan Medical Center


    Neurology, Residency, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics


    Medicine, Residency, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics


    MD, University of Florida College of Medicine

    … → 1982

    BA, Dartmouth College

    … → 1978


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