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Motor Neurone Disease Information Brochure

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Motor Neurone Disease The Cause of the Disease: Motor Neurone Disease, or MND is caused by the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain that control the muscles. Motor Neurone Disease is broken into three main types: * Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common type and affects about half of the people with MND. It mainly causes muscle weakness and stiffness. * Progressive muscular atrophy (PMA) affects around a quarter of people diagnosed with MND. This causes muscle weakness, wasting, and twitching. * Progressive bulbar palsy affects the final quarter of people with MND. This makes speaking and swallowing difficult. Sufferers may inherit the disease or it may occur sporadically. Some people with familial MND have the disorder because of a mutation in one particular gene. A mutation is an error in the genetic code which causes a gene to work abnormally. ...read more.


Signs and Symptoms: Motor Neurone Disease affects individuals in different ways, when the upper body is affected; clumsy fingers and a weak grip are evident. After a while, simple tasks like turning door handles may become difficult. When the lower body is affected, raising the feet with each step can be difficult, causing them to drag on the ground. After a gradual onset, muscle control is lost in these areas and the disease affects more and more areas of the body. Sufferers will eventually have to use wheelchairs to move around. Constipation can occur because of this restricted movement. Sometimes it's the throat muscles that are mainly involved, and this may lead to difficulties in swallowing and speech. There is also a development of breathing problems involved as the disease progresses to affect the chest. ...read more.


The Stem Cell research initiative could prove to yield results on the front of Motor Neurone disease. By using the artificial embryos to create stem cells that carry the genetic defects responsible for the condition and converting the stem cells into neurons, scientists may be able to unravel how the disease destroys nerves and identify drugs to stop or reverse the damage. There is a test for mutations in the SOD1 gene that may be helpful in identifying people that may get the disease in later life. However, not all people with mutations on SOD1 have the disease and not all patients with the disease have these mutations. Genetic Engineering: Using gene therapy, it may be possible to extend the lifespan of sufferers, and slow the onset of Motor Neurone Disease. According to a study on affected mice, after treatment they are shown to live up to 80% of their natural lifespan. Continued research may see such treatment applied to human sufferers. For Further Information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_Neurone_Disease http://hcd2.bupa.co.uk/fact_sheets/html/motor_neurone_disease.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/600210.stm http://www.guardian.co.uk/zurichfuturology/story/0,,1920337,00.html http://abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_1322604.htm http://www.mnd.asn.au/testing.html ...read more.

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