Diagnosing motor neurone disease can be difficult, and so sometimes a diagnosis may take time as the neurologist would like to observe a person over a period of time to see how the symptoms may change or respond to tests. If your doctor/GP thinks your symptoms may be due to a neurological problem, they should organise a referral to a neurologist.

Several other neurological conditions resemble motor neurone disease, especially in the early stages, and so these need to be checked for and ruled out as part of the diagnostic process.

The diagnosis can be assisted through a range of tests, including some which eliminate other conditions.

Nerve conduction studies (NCS) and electromyography (EMG) are often performed and may help in establishing the diagnosis.

NCS involve analysing neural function by electrical stimulation of nerves and recording muscle activity. EMG consists of inserting a needle electrode into various muscles to measure their electrical activity.


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