ALS diagnostic criteria, El Escorial, and Philip II of Spain: A historical perspective

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El Escorial, a magnificent palace-monastery in central Spain, was the setting in 1990 for a meeting of ALS experts who developed a consensus document called the El Escorial ALS Diagnostic Criteria. El Escorial was originally conceived by the Spanish Habsburg monarch, Philip II (1527-1598), as an elaborate burial place for his parents, Emperor Charles V and Isabella. It soon became a symbol of the Spanish empire and Philip's Catholic leadership of the Counter-Reformation. El Escorial included a monastery, palace, basilica, mausoleum, seminary, library, and hospital. Nothing was spared by Philip in obtaining the finest examples of religious art, architec- ture, music, and books. Philip, as absolute monarch, inherited a vast empire which stretched over Europe, Asia, North Africa, and the New World. His style of personal micro-management and poor economic planning hampered his ability to manage both national and foreign affairs. Philip had a special interest in medicine, including royal hospitals, improved government standards for physicians, medicinal plants, and the health benefits of alchemy and sacred relics. El Escorial's grand scale has generated both illustrious praise and critical condemnation over the last four centuries. Its place in Spanish and world history is assured. (Amyot Lat Scler 1999; 1:55-62)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • ALS criteria
  • El Escorial
  • Philip II of Spain
  • Spanish history
  • history of neurology


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