Every 90 minutes, an American dies of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Time is not on the side of those afflicted. ALS is a very difficult disease to diagnose. To date, there is no one test or procedure to ultimately establish the diagnosis of ALS. It is through a clinical examination and series of tests, often ruling out other diseases that mimic ALS, that a diagnosis can be established. A comprehensive workup includes most, if not all, of the following procedures:
* Electrodiagnostic tests, including electomyography and nerve conduction velocity.
* Blood and urine studies, including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels, and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals.
* Spinal tap.
* X-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging.
* Myelogram of cervical spine.