People suffering from very treatable nervous diseases are too often being misdiagnosed as having motor neurone disease (MND), which cannot be cured.
A survey by the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Register has found that 8 per cent of supposed sufferers don't have the disease. Instead, their disorders could be treated, and they ranged from common conditions such as cervical spondylotic myeloradiculopathy to the rare multifocal motor neuropathy.
Motor neurone disease is very rare afflicting just 20 people in one million and will almost inevitably end in severe handicap and premature death, points out John Wokke, from the University Hospital in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
It is vital that surgeons do not misdiagnose the condition, he says. Other diseases of the nervous system often mimic MND in their early stages, so making a correct diagnosis very difficult.
!AThe Lancet, May 18, 1996.