ALS Center

Diagnosis of ALS

There is no single test used to establish a diagnosis of ALS. However, specially selected tests are performed to rule out other diseases.

Neurological Examination

In a neurological examination, the physician tests muscle strength, reflexes, sensation, walking, speech, swallowing and other functions. Certain abnormalities are frequently found in patients with ALS:

  • Brisk reflexes
  • Stiff arms and legs
  • Uninhibited laughing or crying
  • Wasting of muscles
  • Weakness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Cramps

Electromyography (EMG)

Electromyography (EMG) involves a needle being placed into a muscle to evaluate its function.

Nerve Conduction Studies

In nerve conduction studies, integrity of nerves is examined through electrical stimulation.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a special type of x-ray images the brain or spinal cord.

Blood Studies

Blood is drawn and evaluated to eliminate other diseases which mimic ALS.

Nerve and/or Muscle Biopsy

For a nerve or muscle biopsy, sample of a nerve or muscle is removed for pathological analysis. This procedure is rarely required to establish the diagnosis of ALS. 

Quick Reference

ALS Center

Clinic Phone 336-716-2309

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Last Updated: 03-06-2013
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.