Getting a Second Opinion
A second opinion is often recommended because the diagnosis of ALS is so life changing. The only way a person can begin to accept such a diagnosis is to be certain that the diagnosis is correct, and conditions that look like or mimic ALS are considered and excluded.
In up to about 10 to 15 percent of the cases, patients get what we call a false-positive. That means they are told they have ALS, but, in the end, another disease or condition is discovered to be the real problem. Conversely, up to 40 percent of people are told they have another disease, which later proves to wrong and an ALS diagnosis is eventually confirmed. Many conditions can mimic ALS. This type of a diagnostic error is called a false-negative error of diagnosis.