Early Detection of Bulbar Involvement in ALS

Source: Finsterer J, et al. Needle electromyography of bulbar muscles in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: Evidence of subclinical involvement. Neurology 1998;51: 1417-1422.

Electromyographic quantitative motor unit potential analysis (MUPA) and peak ratio interference patterns (PRIP) were analyzed in the masseter, frontalis, and sternocleidomastoid muscles in nine amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients to determine whether these electrodiagnostic techniques detected subclinical bulbar involvement in ALS. Twenty-one healthy subjects served as controls and MUPA, but not PRIP, was found to be sensitive for subclinical disease. Early diagnosis in ALS should not prevent the search for a confirmatory opinion or alternative diagnosis, but it may allow these patients earlier access into experimental therapeutic trials in the race for a cure.