Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is the name given to a group of related diseases affecting the motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord.
Motor neurones are the nerve cells along which the brain sends instructions, in the form of electrical impulses, to the muscles. Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles. This generally occurs in arms or legs initially, some groups of muscles being affected more than others. Some people may develop weakness and wasting in the muscles supplying the face and throat, causing problems with speech and difficulty chewing and swallowing.
MND is a steadily progressive disease, but the rate of progression varies greatly from one person to another. MND is not contagious. It can affect any adult at any age but most people who have MND are over the age of 40 and the highest incidence is in the 50-70 age range.
The cause of MND is not yet known, but a great deal of research work is being carried out, and encouraging advances are being made in understanding both the disease process and the way motor neurones function. Sadly as yet there is no cure for MND, but in recent years, the profile of MND has increased considerably in the public domain as well as the laboratory and clinic.
The definitive resource for people with MND and those who care for them may be found at the national website of the MND Association.