What is motor neurone disease?
MND is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the nerves that support movement, speech, swallowing, and breathing.
Motor neurones normally carry messages from the brain to the muscles via the spinal cord. The messages allow people to make voluntary movements like walking, swallowing, talking and breathing. With MND, however, the nerves become damaged and start to die so muscles gradually get weaker and waste away.
There is currently no known cause, treatment, or cure. In 90-95% of cases of MND, the cause is unknown. In the other 5-10% of cases, a genetic mutation is the cause of the disease. Inherited MND is also known as “familial MND”.
The effects of MND - initial symptoms, rate, the pattern of progression, and survival time after diagnosis - vary significantly from person to person. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 27 months.
Motor neurone disease is also known in different parts of the world as:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), named after the most common type
- Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Maladie de Charcot (Charcot’s disease)
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