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Assessing the upper motor neurone: novel UMN biomarkers are needed for clinical trials
  1. Robert D Henderson1,
  2. Matthew S Devine2
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2Medical Imaging Department, Gold Coast University Hospital, Southport, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert D Henderson, Department of Neurology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia 4029; robert.henderson{at}

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The paper by Nitert provides a valuable contribution regarding the importance of the upper motor neuron (UMN) as a potential disease biomarker of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). There are well-described clinical findings of UMN dysfunction such as increased tone and hyperreflexia, but these can be difficult to grade; others have highlighted the importance of slowing of movements, particularly hand function. Hence, there is a disconnect between simplified clinical scoring systems and the disease itself, and we are left with no standard measurement of UMN involvement in the clinical or research setting. The short bedside scoring system described by Devine, modified from Ravits, has been used, where the decline was most notable …

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  • RDH and MSD contributed equally.

  • Contributors Equal contribution.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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