Neurophysiological Biomarker for Early ALS Detection



    • Presently, physicians rely on a costly and invasive battery of tests for diagnosing ALS. Early detection of ALS can improve patient survival and quality of life as well as promote access to investigational new drugs, and thus such a diagnostic is highly desirable.
    • Lack of upper motor neural control is a hallmark of ALS. Intermuscular coherence quantifies the extent to which co-activated muscle groups are actuated at the same frequency of motor neuron impulse. The investigators showed it provides an objective metric of whether upper motor neural control of muscles is normal or aberrant. The investigators further demonstrated the utility of intermuscular coherence as a biomarker for ALS detection.
    • The product is a biomarker and associated method of detection where electromyographic (EMG) readings from a patient’s arm muscles are converted into an intermuscular coherence measurement. This measurement can then be used to determine whether the patient has normal motor neural control of muscles or is likely to have ALS.
    • The investigators tested the biomarker in a study of 15 ALS patients diagnosed on average within the last 17 months, and 15 control patients. They found that the average intermuscular coherence was approximately 4 times greater in the control condition than in the ALS condition. This biomarker had both a sensitivity and specificity of 87%.



    (A)Calculated intermuscular coherence values from 1-60Hz, for ALS patients as compared to control patients. (B)Average intermuscular coherence values from 20-40Hz, the frequency range found to have the greatest variation between ALS and control patients. Shaded diamonds represent the average of each condition, open circles represent each individual patient, and the dotted line represents the cutoff value for diagnosis.





    • Earlier and more accurate detection of ALS
    • Testing can be performed with pre-existing EMG sensors and requires minimal training to administer
    • Testing only requires the patient hold arm at a 90° angle parallel to the floor and does not require complex movements like previous intermuscular coherence tests
    • Decreased false coherence readings as compared to previous tests
    • Application of intermuscular coherence readings to detect broader range of upper motor neuron disorders as compared to previous tests



    • Detection and monitoring of motor neuron diseases: (ALS, Spinal Injury)
    • Digital health










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    Michael Hinton

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