What Is Primary Lateral Sclerosis?

Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) is a motor neuron disease variation of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) but far more rare. PLS refers to patients who seem to have disruptions with only upper motor neurons and not lower motor neurons. It is possible, however, for PLS to progress to ALS.

PLS causes weakness in the voluntary muscles that control your legs, arms, and tongue. It can happen at any age, but usually occurs between 40 and 60. It can also be caused in children by an abnormal gene inherited by the child from their parents.


Symptoms of PLS can include the following:

  • Weakness and stiffness in your legs
  • Difficulty balancing and clumsiness as leg muscles weaken
  • Weakness in the trunk, arms, hands, tongue, and jaw
  • Slowness of speech or slurred speech and drooling as facial muscles weaken

PLS does not progress as quickly as ALS. While it can affect quality of life, working with a team of specialists can help patients maintain fulfilling activities.


Speech Pathology


School of Medicine
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Mark B. Bromberg, MD, PhD

Patient Rating:


4.7 out of 5

Dr Mark Bromberg is a Professor of Neurology at the University of Utah. He received a doctoral degree in Neurophysiology from the University of Vermont and his medical degree and his neurology residency training from the University of Michigan. He also completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology and neuromuscular diseases at the University o... Read More

Karin M. Dent, MS, CGC

Karin Dent, Director of the University of Utah Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling, is a certified and licensed genetic counselor at the University of Utah and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics.  Karin directs or co-directs the Genetic Counseling Seminar courses, the Clinical Rotations courses, and the Research course. She rece... Read More


Genetic Counselor


A location has not yet been added by this physician.

Summer Gibson, MD

Patient Rating:


4.8 out of 5

Dr. Gibson is a Utah native. She attended Rice University where she earned her BA in biology and then received her MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. At that point she returned to Utah where she completed her residency training in Neurology, in her last year she was nominated a co-chief. During her residency she d... Read More

Estelle S. Harris, MD

Estelle S. Harris, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah Health Science Center. As a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician, her clinical interests include general pulmonary consultation, acute lung injury, non-invasive ventilation, neuromuscular abnormalities and diaphragm muscle dysfunction. Dr. Harris received her M... Read More


Critical Care, Pulmonary, General Pulmonary


University Hospital
Pulmonary, Clinic 3

Heather A. Hayes, PT, PhD, DPT

Heather Hayes, DPT, NCS, PhD is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) with advanced certification as a neurologic clinic specialist (NCS). She specializes in the treatment and research of individuals with any neurological disorders, including but not limited to; Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsonsim, ALS, balance and vestibular disorders.... Read More


ALS, Balance/Vestibular, Geriatrics, Movement Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Stroke


Health Profession Education Building 801-587-9161

Kasey D. Mitchell, MOT, CLVT, OTR/L

Kasey Mitchell MOT, OTR/L, CLVT is the Life Skills Clinic Manager. The Life Skills Clinic is the faculty practice arm of the Division of Occupational Therapy in the College of Health. Kasey has been an occupational therapist for over 10 years with an emphasis in neurorehabilitation. He now combines that with advanced certfication in low vision t... Read More


Occupational Therapy


A location has not yet been added by this physician.

University Campus/Research Park

Clinical Neurosciences Center 175 N. Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
(801) 585-7575
Imaging & Neurosciences Center 729 Arapeen Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
(801) 585-7575