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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Board Index

In late January 2003, my 76-year-old dad woke up from a nap one day and had slurred speech. We thought he had experienced a mini-stroke, as he was otherwise doing OK. Stroke screening yielded nothing. Over the course of the past year, his speech has deteriorated to the point that he can't speak at all. He communicates through hand signals and by writing things in a little notebook.

He also has spontaneous bouts of crying that seem to come on for no reason and are hard to control. He has difficulty swallowing, and he drools quite a bit. He chokes when eating, and he also chokes spontanteously even when he isn't eating, which is usally followed by several minutes of serious coughing and wheezing. He sleeps very little at night.

He has lost a lot of weight in the past year, and he tires very easily. I should point out that prior to the onset of his symptoms over a year ago, he was healthy, vivacious, and robust. He looked and acted a good 15 years younger than his chronological age. In retrospect, the spontaneous coughing/choking started about 2 or 3 years ago, but was his only symptom until January 2003.

My mom finally took Dad to the neurologist today. Dad is scheduled to have an EMG on Friday. The neurologist said Dad definitely doesn't have bulbar ALS, although he hasn't done any tests so far.

Here is an excerpt from my mom's message to me:
[i]"Dr said if it is bulbar ALS, over the past year his tongue would have atrophied and other muscles failed...yes we know there is something wrong, but more tests are necessary since his overallhealth is good and he has plenty of strength..... can you find anything else it could be because he sure has many of the symptoms of bulbar ALS."[/i]

Does anyone have any insight into what other problems could look like bulbar ALS but be something else???

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