About MND - GMN

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About Motor Neurone Disease
MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the motor neurones at the base of the brain and spinal cord. It leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility and difficulties with speech, swallowing, and breathing.

Motor neurones carry messages from the brain to the muscles. When they die the muscle weakens and begins to waste away, robbing people of the ability to do every day tasks such as dressing, walking, talking, eating.

MND does not affect touch, taste, sight, smell or hearing, nor directly bladder, bowel or sexual function, and in the vast majority of cases the intellect remains unaffected. It affects people in different ways, however, so no two people will necessarily experience the same symptoms.

WHO GETS MND?
MND can affect any adult at any age, but most people are over the age of 40 and the highest incidence is in the 50-70 age group. 

The incidence (the number of people who will develop MND in any one year) in England and Wales is approximately two cases per 100,000; the prevalence (the number who have MND at any one time) is thought to be approx seven per 100,000. The estimated number of people with MND in the UK is up to 5,000. 

WHAT CAUSES MND?
The cause of MND is not yet known, but a great deal of research is being carried out and there are encouraging advances in under-standing both the disease process and the way motor neurones function.

One way to understand why motor neurones die is to study them in the laboratory, but they are difficult to obtain, whether from humans (using post-mortem brain and spinal cord tissue) or grown from animal models of MND. To overcome this problem scientists are learning to trigger stem cells to grow into motor neurones in the laboratory.

A number of important advances have been made in this area which will allow the MND research to move forward faster.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED?
There is no specific test for MND and it may be difficult to diagnose in the early stages. The neurologist (who usually makes the diagnosis) will carry out a number of tests before confirming the diagnosis.

TREATMENT
No cure has yet been found for MND despite worldwide research. Drug treatment is available which slows the progression of the disease.

Help and support is available. There are a number of professionals who can help people with MND and their families to cope with everyday living, enabling them to lead a fulfilling life.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Help and support is available. There are a number of professionals who can help people with MND and their families to cope with everyday living, enabling them to lead a fulfilling life.

 
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