% OF THE CENTER’S REVENUE COMES FROM EVENTS HOSTED BY PATIENTS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
How Is ALS Diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, there are several diagnostic procedures for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Tests to diagnose ALS may include:
- • Laboratory tests including blood and urine studies and thyroid functioning tests
- • Muscle and/or nerve biopsy
- • Cerebral spinal fluid analysis (spinal tap), a procedure used to make an evaluation or diagnosis by examining the fluid withdrawn from the spinal column
- • X-rays
- • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a way to image soft tissues that's noninvasive and that doesn't involve x-rays. MRI produces a sharp, two-dimensional view of the brain and spinal cord.
- • Electrodiagnostic tests (i.e., electromyography, or EMG, and nerve conduction velocity, or NCV), which are studies that evaluate and diagnose disorders of the muscles and motor neurons. Electrodes are inserted into the muscle, or placed on the skin overlying a muscle or muscle group, and electrical activity and muscle response are recorded.
If you have been given an ALS diagnosis, the Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins can provide you with a centralized location for information and education, along with access to clinical trials and an ALS community committed to understanding the causes of ALS, funding research, supporting ALS scientists and to finding a cure.
Udai Pandey, PhD
ALS is marked by abnormal accumulations of a protein named FUS/TLS. In creating fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) that carry the human FUS/TLS gene, we've found an economical, easily-studied model of ALS. Our goal with this Packard grant is to understand how the FUS/TLS gene promotes the disease in Drosophila. What we discover, we assume, will shed clearer light on both familial and sporadic ALS in patients.