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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Board Index

Re: Scared
Feb 13, 2010
[QUOTE=scioneaux;4183947]My husband has been referred to a Dr. Robert Miller in San Francisco. He has loss of strength in his right hand and considerable atrophy. Some pain in his pinky. He started with our family doctor who referred him to a hand specialist. The hand doctor referred him to a neurologist. Now the neurologist is sending him to Dr. Miller in SF. I guess he's a well known specialist in ALS. Also,he's going for an MRI.

Are there nonfatal disorders that mimic ALS?

Could they been sending him just to rule out ALS?

Can an MRI detect ALS or muscular distrophy?[/QUOTE]

Hi scioneaux

I'm not by any means an ALS expert, but I'll share with you, what I've learned this past weeks researching for my own case.

Are there nonfatal disorders that mimic ALS?

Yes, too many indeed, and it's quite hard to tell one from another, sometimes you need many tests and experts' opinions to find the right answer.

From MS(which is not necessarily fatal) , to Idiopathic Polyneuropathy(I have one of those), to Lyme disease, to Fybromyalgia, just to mention a few conditions that can mimic many of the ALS symptoms...

You need several tests and an expert opinion to confirm this DX, and it can take time.

Could they been sending him just to rule out ALS?

Yes, and to rule out any other probable cause or condition, not just ALS.

Can an MRI detect ALS or muscular distrophy?

I believe that not by itself, it aims more to detect MS, because you can see the lesions caused by the disease through an MRI, it also helps finding any kind of stroke, or brain damage.

An EMG(I got one of this), is the usual first approach to detect this. Here you can see the how your muscles are affected(or not) by any cause, including ALS.

Usually this test (EMG) is much more accurate to diagnose ALS than an MRI.

A lumbar puncture is also another usual test for ALS, but as it is true with any kind of test, they have to be suggested by your doctors, if they suspect something.

But it is really a combination of tests and a professional examination, that will confirm, or not, an ALS dx.

Just in the EMG test case, there are some protocols(active nerve damage in several spots), that has to be detected, before they can confirm and ALS diagnose, and sometimes even with that, they have to dig deeper.

My hope and prayers are with you that, they find something else than ALS, there are many possibilities really, just try to be patient and not to stress or panic too much.

This advice coming from a really stressed and anxious person like me, believe me, torturing yourself with ugly thoughts won't help in any way, and you'll just feel miserable.
Re: Scared
Feb 25, 2010
[I]Do you know any thing about ALS and a positive Babinski.[/I]

The absence of a Babinski can mean nothing in terms of ALS, there are too many variables with ALS for it to be considered significant. Testing for ALS includes blood and urine tests, an EMG (for nerve conduction), occasionally small biopsies of muscle tissue are done. MRis are not usually done for ALS..

Tripping, dropping things, extreme fatigue of arms and legs along with speech slurring and involuntary periods of laughing and/or crying are usually the onset symtoms....

MS, Lymes Disease and Fibromyalgia do NOT present like ALS in 99% of the cases, the only symtom any of them have in common is fatigue; however MS fatigue and Lymes and Fibro fatigue are an all over fatigue which the body shuts down,and primarily its brain exhuastion or mental exhuastion, not a specific part of the body...with ALS patients the exhuastion or fatigue is usually arm or leg specific.

Unfortunately I have first hand knowledge of MS. I have it....and I learned today that my first cousin was diagnosed with ALS. Ive known several people in the past few years to have been dx with ALS- none of them have anything in common with my own symtoms of MS. ALS is pretty much a disease which follows a specific course and specific symtoms...MS, on the other hand is different for just about each one of us who have it. Fibro, for the record, is a non specific disease which means "nerve Pain". It can be in any part of the body and is not a life threatening disease....neither is MS. Both are painful at times, both are managable. MS is progressive, but neither are life threatening. Lymes Disease is also autoimmune, and in some ways treatable, however the infection lives with you forever and can flare up even after heavy doses of antibiotics seem to put it in remission. To the best of my knowledge, Lymes isnt life threatening either..but I dont know that much about this particular disease.

I hope your husband does not have ALS, as its a very scary thing to be dealing with.....Im about to become the support system for my cousin- and believe me, having seen it several times in the past year, Im not looking forward to having to go thru this again. Please let us know how things turn out and know that Im sending you a prayer that things turn out well for you both.

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