Conditions that mimic MND
There are other conditions than can sometimes mimic MND. The medical team will make sure these conditions have been ruled out before MND is diagnosed. Some of the more common conditions that can mimic MND include:
Problems with the spinal cord and nerves that leave the neck
This is probably the most common mimic of MND and is caused when 'wear and tear' changes in the bones of the neck cause damage to the spinal cord in the neck (upper motor neurone) and the nerves that leave the neck to supply the muscles (lower motor neurone). The medical team may need to investigate this and may consider performing a scan of the neck, most often a MRI scan.
Problems with the muscles
Some diseases of the muscles themselves (rather than with the motor neurones) can mimic motor neurone disease. The medical team may perform blood tests and electrical tests (called nerve conduction studies and EMG) to help exclude them. Benign Fasciculation syndrome, myasthenia gravis or Inclusion Body Myositis are examples of problems with the muscles.
Problems with the nerves
Sometimes conditions that cause damage to the motor nerves (the lower motor neurones that extend out of the spinal cord and travel to the muscles of the body) can mimic MND. The medical team may perform blood tests and electrical tests (called nerve conduction studies and EMG) to help exclude them. Multifocal motor neuropathy is one such condition.
Problems caused by inflammation in the brain and spinal cord
Sometimes conditions caused by inflammation in the brain and spinal cord can mimic MND. The medical team may perform scans of the brain and spinal cord. Depending on the clinical situation, other tests to evaluate the inflammation might be performed such as a lumbar puncture (See 'Diagnosing MND'), blood tests , CT scans of your body or base of skull.