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New member
Jan 24, 2008
Learn about ALS
Hello everyone.

I'm 25 years old and I feel that there are times when I stumble over words. Though my wife says that she has noticed nothing at all in my speech.

My biggest concern right now is that when I stick out my tongue (flex it if you will) I notice two or three grooves along the left lateral side but the right lateral side has none of these grooves and is smooth muscle. When I relax my tongue these grooves disappear altogether. I can only see them when I stick it out my tongue.

I was hoping someone would be able to explain how tongue atrophy looks in its early stages. Does it appear as though there are these muscle grooves or could this be something else?

Also, I was wondering what the time table is for tongue atrophy and speech problems?

Is the atrophy obvious before any speech problems can be heard by other people or is it the other way around?

Help please :(
I know that in respect to other questions and concerns on this forum mine seems rather trivial but I went to see a family physician and he did a very very brief neuro exam.

He didn't notice the grooves on the side of my tongue because he only asked me to stick it out to check my soft palate.

He told me that seeing a Neurologist would not help me because without any obvious clinical signs of ALS that tests like an EMG/bloodwork have, statistically, a better chance of giving a false positive than they do an actual positive.

So I'm wondering, should I be concerned about a muscle groove (or dimple, if you will) on one side of the tongue while the other side is smooth?

When I stick my tongue out there is no deviation. As for speech, I feel I am having trouble but my family physician and wife both said they haven't noticed anything.
If that's your only symptom, i wouldn't be worried.

Usually, by the time you have grooves, you can't swallow, talk, your reflexes are so hyper any doctor will notice them.

You don't have ALS, there are many reasons for ridges on the tongue and many normal people have them.

Try to relax, get on with life, if anything, this is a wakeup call. YOu are going to be fine


Thanks for the response Jamie. I really appreciate it.
Good God man. Why would you be so concerned with the look of your tongue at your age? If you don't have bulbar ALS in your family get out and enjoy your life and wife. Shut down the computer and take a walk.
You're right, that's great advice. Thanks :)
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