- 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.
Read more at Virtual Medical Centre
Information and resources for health professionals and disability and aged care providers who support and care for people living with motor neurone disease.
PO Box 117
Deakin West ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA
Unit 6, 2 Phipps Close
Deakin ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA
Tel: (MND Australia) +61 2 8287 4980
Tel: (MND Research Australia) +61 2 8287 4989
MND Australia | MND Australia
MND New South Wales
Gladesville NSW 2111
(Locked Bag 5005, Gladesville NSW 1675)
Ph: 02 8877 0999
Freecall: 1800 777 175
Fax: 02 9816 2077
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.