Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the upper and lower motor neurones. Degeneration of the motor neurones leads to weakness and wasting of muscles, causing increasing loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. Sensation, intellect, memory and personality are not affected in people with MND.
Around four or five in every 100,000 people in the UK have MND at any one time. It usually starts between the ages of 50 and 70 but can occur at any age. Men may be up to twice as likely as women to be affected.
There is no cure for MND and life expectancy varies in each individual. However there are forms of therapy available that help to improve posture, prevent joint immobility, and slow muscle weakness and wasting. Additional therapy for speech, chewing, and swallowing difficulties may be required.
Research is underway to understand the causes of MND and to develop an effective treatment. Riluzole is the only prescribed drug approved to treat MND. Riluzole prolongs life by 2-3 months but does not relieve symptoms.
It is important to know that Motor Neurone Disease follows a unique path and affects each individual differently, in terms of symptoms, rate of progression and survival time.
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