Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

A Brief Introduction


What is MND?  

MND, which is known in the USA as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and sometimes as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is an umbrella term for conditions that progressively damage and eventually result in the death of the nerves (motor neurones) in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles responsible for voluntary movement.   As a result the transmission of messages to muscles in the face, throat, chest and limbs are interrupted to varying extents and muscle wastage and spasticity occurs. There is no cure for MND but treatments are available which help to alleviate the symptoms.

Symptoms and types of MND

In the early stages muscle weakness might only be apparent in one limb but as the condition worsens many muscles for the important activities of walking, gripping, swallowing, speaking and breathing can be affected.

Although they are all eventually similar as they get progressively worse various subtypes of MND are recognised of which the main types are:-

  1. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). About 8 out of 10 people with MND have this type which usually starts with weakness and stiffness in the hands and feet. Life expectancy is 2 to 5 years.
  2. Progressive bulbar palsy (PBP). About 2 out of 10 people have this type which initially affects the muscles used for speech, chewing and swallowing. Life expectancy is 6 months to 3 years.
  3. Progressive muscular atrophy (PMA). Few people are affected by this type which at first causes weakness but not stiffness in the small muscles of the hands and feet. Most people live for longer than 5 years after the onset of their symptoms.
  4. Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). A rare condition mainly causing weakness in the leg muscles but some people might have hand or speech problems. Life expectancy is unaffected providing ALS does not develop.

What causes MND?

It is not known what causes MND. Usually there is no family history of the condition, and it is most unlikely to develop in other family members. However, in about 10% of cases more than one member of the family has either ALS and/or frontotemporal dementia. For no obvious reasons research has revealed a higher incidence of MND amongst footballers, farmworkers and the inhabitants of Guam. Amongst the environmental factors which might be involved are exposure to chemicals, stressful lifestyles such as military service, head & leg injuries, smoking and excessive exercise.


Extensive research into MND is being carried out at many places in the USA, Europe and Australia. In the UK the Motor Neurone Disease Association is funding research at several centres relating to various aspects of MDS / ALS including:-

  • Genome sequencing
  • Genetic mistakes and therapy
  • Stem cell technology
  • Biomarkers
  • Animal models
  • Toxic proteins
  • A gene-environment database 

Research at the University of Nottingham & the Queen’s Medical Centre

Currently the Motor Neurone Disease Association is funding research at Nottingham relating to the SQSTM1 gene that governs the production of the protein p62 which has a role in in enabling cells to remove and recycle unwanted proteins. When the process breaks down the build-up of waste is thought to contribute to some forms of MND and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).   The researchers are investigating the way various gene mutations associated with MND affect the p62 protein and its interactions with other proteins. This could lead to new ways of managing the symptoms of the disease.

Researchers: Professor Mark Searle, Dr Robert Layfield & Dr Marios Georgiou

Pioneering work relating to the protein waste recycling process within neurones, which impacts on other neurodegenerative diseases as well as MND, was undertaken by one of our charity’s founder members, Professor John Mayer and his colleague Professor James Lowe in the 1980s. Since 2000 Dr Lynn Bedford, who is also a member of our Management Committee, has also carried out research work relating to the 26S proteasome recycling process and the possibility of gene deletion in motor neurones.

Further information links:






  1. HUZBrookefj 3 years ago

    I see this post is on 11 spot in google’s search results.
    Have you tried to decrease your bounce rate?

    This is one of main ranking factors in google’s algorithm in 2015.
    There is one handy wp plugin that can help you decrease your bounce rate and additionally can earn $$$ for
    you. Search in google for:
    Dubur’s bounce killer

    • Graham White 3 years ago

      Thanks for the tip. As a voluntary organisation we could certainly do with more donations to help fund medical research into some of the most devastating diseases on the planet.

  2. eebest8 3 years ago

    Thank you for your blog post. Fantastic.

  3. throat cum 3 years ago

    Thank you for your blog. Will read on…

  4. This is one awesome article post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  5. websites 3 years ago

    Great, thanks for sharing this post.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  6. sensual porn 3 years ago

    Hey, thanks for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Much obliged.

  7. Websites for sale 3 years ago

    Wow, great article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  8. I truly appreciate this article. Want more.

  9. coffee history 3 years ago

    Thanks again for the blog article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  10. Very informative blog post.Much thanks again. Awesome.

  11. VanRHedgepath 3 years ago

    Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone
    during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways,
    good site!

  12. Travel Trip 3 years ago

    Thanks-a-mundo for the blog post.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  13. Best News 3 years ago

    Thanks a lot for the article. Really Great.

  14. raw amber 3 years ago

    I loved your blog post.Thanks Again. Cool.

  15. ByronBRunyons 3 years ago

    Good day I am so happy I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Aol for something else,
    Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a marvelous
    post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the minute but I have
    bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.

  16. songspk hindi 1 year ago

    Thanks for the blog post. Fantastic.

  17. I really enjoy the article.Much thanks again. Want more.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *