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Motor Neurone Disease should be diagnosed by a neurologist, there is no single test. Diagnosis is made by examination, by the history, and the consultant would often order muscle tests known as EMG and nerve conduction studies. Lots of other tests are often done, such as MRI, blood tests and possibly lumbar puncture, but these tests are done to exclude other neurological conditions. And that is why often the diagnosis can take quite a bit of time with MND while all these tests are carried out. When a patient first presents, then if they are presenting say with a foot drop, then there is lots of different conditions that could cause that. So, the neurologist would have to be sure to exclude all the other things that may be causing it and may be treatable before definitely confirming that Motor Neurone disease is the diagnosis.

It is recognized that diagnosis can take a long time and I believe the average is up to 11 months [to confirm the diagnosis]. After diagnosis, the important thing is that the patient is linked in with the services that can support them. Importantly, they can be contacted with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and also the local team. So in our area, the consultant would inform the team immediately that somebody is diagnosed. Where possible, we would actually attend the clinic with the doctor when the confirmation of the diagnosis is given. And then the appropriate member of the team would see the patient either in outpatients or in the home and that might be the physio or the OT depending on what the patient's needs were at that time. And from that therapist having seen them, then they can link into the other relevant services. Be it speech and language therapist, respiratory consultants, whatever is needed.