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Motor neurone disease is a clinical diagnosis
  1. Martin R Turner,
  2. Kevin Talbot
  1. Oxford MND Centre, Oxford University Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martin Turner, Clinical Neurology, West Wing Level 3, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK; martin.turner{at}

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As non-neurophysiologists we enjoyed this informative review of electromyography (EMG), and benefit enormously from the service provided by our local colleagues. We suggest, however, that EMG is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘diagnostic’ for motor neurone disease (MND). Rather, for at least the 85% of cases with classical amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, MND is a clinical diagnosis.

The average delay in diagnosis of MND from the onset of symptoms has stubbornly remained around 1 year over the last two decades.1 Over-reliance on investigations, including neurophysiology, excluding implausible mimic conditions may be a contributory factor. The first …

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  • Response to: Whittaker RG. The fundamentals of electromyography. Pract Neurol 2012;12:187–94

  • Contributors MRT drafted the letter and KT edited the letter.

  • Funding Medical Research Council & Motor Neurone Disease Association UK Lady Edith Wolfson Fellowship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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