Motor Neuron Disease

Gregory T. Carter, Nanette C. Joyce

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter is an overview of the diagnosis and treatment of motor neuron disorders using amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as the prototypical disorder. ALS is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by the combined loss of upper and lower motor neurons. The diagnosis of ALS can be made using the Awaji-shima criteria. Diagnostic strategies to assess ALS mimickers include imaging and laboratory studies. Current practice parameters including those of the American Academy of Neurology provide the basis for recommendations for treatment of ALS. The FDA has approved disease-modifying medications and several commonly used therapeutics are available for symptomatic treatment of dysphagia, sialorrhea, spasticity, depression, and anxiety. Rehabilitation strategies include adaptive mobility equipment, treatment of impaired communication, exercise, and restrictive lung disease management. ALS is one of a group of heterogeneous disorders within the category of motor neuron diseases. While there is no cure for ALS, symptomatic treatment provides improvement in quality of life and prolongs patient survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEssentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Subtitle of host publicationMusculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780323549479
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis
  • Motor Neuron Disease
  • Pseudobulbar Affect
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • Sialorrhea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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