Diseases Mimicking ALS...

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Distinguished member
Apr 25, 2007
does anyone have any info on diseases that mimic ALS? Although, I really believe I have ALS my docs says no. My main question is, what disease other then ALS can cause twitching and atrophy? I have both and its really scary...
My husband's doctor said that West Nile Virus can mimic ALS. Hopefully, it is something that can be treated. That would be wonderful for you!

Take care.
Pam B in Va
There a few diseases that mimic ALS pretty good:

1) Multifocal motoric neuropathy (MMN) - weakness, fasciculations (not too much) but NO atrophy and very slow progression

2)Postpoliomyelitic syndrome - Late consequences of poliomyelitis. Weakness, fasciculations, tireness.

3) Myasthenia gravis -no need to comment

4) Polymyositis - weakness etc, no fascics

5) Spondylogennc cervical myelopathy - hand atrophies, sensory disorders on limbs.

I dont know the spelling of these diseases in english, I do my best..
1) Multifocal motoric neuropathy (MMN) - weakness, fasciculations (not too much) but NO atrophy and very slow progression


Clarification. I was DX with ALS, then second opinion. I have had abnormal EMGs and a DX of "Atypical ALS" or MMN. I quoted above as I have atrophy of my right hand. I have fasciculations, not sure if very much. On the MMN forum there are lots of people with atrophy with MMN. Hope that is helpful. Peg
lime disease also mimics ALS
I have heard as fybro can cause twitching, and cracking or poping of joints
Hi Peg B,

you mention atrophy of the hand. Does MMN then involve both upper or motor neuron signs? What about reflexes? Danijela

MMN will display only lower motor neuron signs. Reflexes will not be brisk with MMN as this would be an UMN sign.

I was originally suspect MMN but changed to ALS when my reflexes later became brisk.

Thanks for that. I was at a stage where I was looking for anything but ALS as a diagnosis for my partner. His reflexes are also brisk, so I guess that rules out MMN. We are still trying to get hold of transcripts of all the tests that have been done before the consultant diagnosed him with ALS. D
CELIAC DISEASE can mimic ALS symptoms. Celiac disease symptoms can be eliminated by maintaining a strict gluten free diet. A simple blood test, or a small biopsy can determine whether you do, or do not have celiac disease.
Hey Peg B

I'm curious to know how fast MMN typically progresses and how long it takes for mark atrophy to be seen.
Hi Pawin,

MMN progresses very slowly. The weakness in my right hand, especially my baby finger, was obvious in 2002. At the same time I began falling a lot. The neuro at that time said I did not have a systemic disease like MS or ALS. I asked her specifically. I kept falling periodically and my legs and hips hurt more and more. By 2006 I could not move the baby finger of my right hand at all and was DX with ALS on Oct 31, 2006. Second opnion Dec 7, 2006 said maybe MMN and I started treatment Jan, 2007. Now a second finger is curling and I still have weakness in my right hand and my hand and both legs (especially the left leg) are weak and hurt, but that is still very slow progression. There is not suppose to be pain as such, but if I over do it, I get pain.

I hope this helps. Take Good Care, Peg
In my late teens I began experiencing muscle twitching in lower extremities (calf muscles) by my mid twenties I happend to read an article on ALS and was horrified to learn I had symptoms of the disease, so i went to my family doctor and had blood work done, after that he refered me to a neurologist and and was tested using electromyography over the course of three months, the conductivity tests showed some resistance in the nerve transmissions but not to a significant degree, when I was ten years old I hade a tick bite with the classic bullseye rash, but in 1972 little was known about lyme disease, I am fairly certain that the ALS syptoms are because of cronic lyme disease, because im still around after 25 years of onset of symptoms. I still have muscle cramping and fasciculations but have learned to live with it.
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