Motor Neurone Disease


(also Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)



  • Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurons) that control the muscles degenerate and die.
  • MND is a slowly progressive disease in that it gets steadily worse over time.
  • MND causes increasing disability due to muscular weakness, generally without mental impairment or incontinence.
  • Early symptoms are mild and include muscle wasting, muscle weakness, fasciculations (muscle twitching), difficulty swallowing and with speech, muscle cramps and spasms.
  • In some cases symptoms are widespread from the start but in most instances the disease starts in a localised fashion becoming more generalised as it progresses.
  • There are different types of MND and symptoms vary from person to person. Patterns of weakness, the rate and pattern of progression and survival time are also variable.
  • There is no single test for MND which makes diagnosis difficult.
  • Because of this diagnosis may take some time.
  • Diagnosis can be assisted through a range of tests, some which eliminate other conditions eg; nerve conduction tests.
  • The causes of MND are not yet known but this is the subject of on-going worldwide research.
  • Most cases occur spontaneously though some are hereditary (about 10%).
  • MND is uncommon but not rare. Recent statistics estimate there are over 2,000 people in Australia currently diagnosed with MND and every day 2 Australians are diagnosed with MND.
  • The average age of onset is 50.


There are a range of treatments for MND aimed at reducing the symptoms and improving the quality of life for people with the condition.
A person with MND will usually require assistance from a number of health care professionals including a GP, neurologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech pathologist, psychologist, home care nurse and social worker.
Treatment requires an integrated, multidisciplinary approach.
Most patients with MND experience little or no pain.


There is neither cure nor prevention for MND at this time but worldwide research is providing encouraging results.
In most cases intellect and memory are not affected by MND, nor are the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and sensation.

Further Information and Support

In 2019 Dr Rebecca San Gil was the recipient of Brain Foundation grant funding for research into Motor Neurone Disease – click for more.

In 2018 Dr Rabia Islam was the recipient of Brain Foundation grant funding for research into Motor Neurone Disease – click for more.

Click here for the latest Australian research papers on Motor Neurone Disease.

Researcher Essays

Read more at Virtual Medical Centre

MND Care

Motor Neurone Disease Association of Australia
The Old Gladesville Hospital, Victoria Rd, Gladesville NSW 1675
Tel (02) 9816 5322
Fax (02) 9816 2077

Email info@mndaust.asn.au

Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW
Building 4, Old Gladesville Hospital, Gladesville NSW 2111
Tel (02) 8877 0999 or Freecall 1800 777 175
Fax (02) 9816 2077


Motor Neurone Disease Association of QLD
P O Box 259, Corinda QLD 4075
Tel (07) 3372 9004 or
Freecall 1800 777 175
Fax (07) 3278 9871

Motor Neurone Disease Association of SA
302 South Road, Hilton SA 5033
Tel (08) 8357 0245 or Freecall 1800 777 175
Fax: (08) 8357 0265

Motor Neurone Disease Association of TAS
PO Box 379, Sandy Bay TAS 7006
Freecall 1800 777 175 or 1800 806 632


Motor Neurone Disease Association of VIC
265 Canterbury Rd, (PO Box 23) Canterbury VIC 3126
Tel (03) 9830 2122 or
Freecall 1800 806 632
Fax (03) 9830 2228

Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA
Centre for Neurological Support
The Niche, B/11 Aberdare Rd, Nedlands WA 6009
Tel (08) 9346 7355 or
Freecall 1800 777 175
Fax: (08) 9346 7332

Motor Neurone Disease Research Institute of Australia Inc
PO Box 990, Gladesvillw NSW 1675
Tel (02) 8877 0990
Fax (02) 9816 2077
Email info@mndresearch.asn.au

Reviewed by Dr Dominic Rowe, PhD FRACP, Department of Neurology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Australia

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient / site visitor and his / her existing health care professionals.

Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.