About MND

What is Motor Neurone Disease?

MND is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor nerves or neurones in the brain and spinal cord responsible for sending signals to the muscles to tell them what to do. As the nerves start to die the signals degenerate and without this ‘stimulation’ the muscles weaken and waste thus leading to loss of strength, muscle bulk and eventually paralysis. MND affects voluntary muscle tissue, so basically anything that you can willingly move such as hands, arms, legs, feet, breathing muscles, tongue, swallowing muscles, and neck.

  • At this time there is no definitive test to identify the disease.
  • Diagnosis is arrived at by eliminating all other diseases that could mimic it and is reliant on the experience of a Neurologist
  • It says something about the nature of the disease when I say that it currently cannot be slowed down, stopped or reversed.
  • Possibly the cruellest aspect of the disease is that your mind remains unaffected throughout. You are therefore fully aware of everything that is happening to you as the muscles weaken and paralysis spreads.
  • Everyone’s experience of MND will be different. The disease can start in different parts of the body, progress in different directions and at different rates thus making everyone’s journey somewhat unique.
  • It is said that the average life expectancy (from symptom onset) is just 2 to 5 years. However it is important to bear in mind that this is only an average. A small percentage of people can and do live a lot longer although it is also true to say that in its most aggressive form life expectancy is much less than average.

Additional information can be found in the following links:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Fact Sheet

US fact sheet produced by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Facts About Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or MND)

US fact sheet produced by the MDA’s ALS division

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