What are Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs)?

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What are Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs)? Blog Image

Overview:

The annual conference on MND 'Awareness, Care, and Management’ held at Nimhans, Bengaluru, stated that symptomatic and supportive treatments help manage the condition better.

About Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs):

  • MNDs are a group of progressive neurological disorders that destroy motor neurons, the cells that control skeletal muscle activity such as walking, breathing, speaking, and swallowing.
    • Motor neurons are found in the brain and spinal cord, and they help tell your muscles what to do.
  • MND can appear at any age, but the symptoms usually appear after the age of 50 years.
  • Early signs of MND include weakness and slurred speech. This eventually leads to paralysis.
  • It affects more males than females.
  • Causes:
    • The exact cause of MND is not known. Generally, MND is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors.
    • Most cases of MND develop without an obvious cause.
    • Around 1 in 10 cases is 'familial', meaning the condition is inherited. This is due to a genetic mutation, or an error in the gene.
  • This group includes diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive bulbar palsy, primary lateral sclerosis, progressive muscular atrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, Kennedy's disease, and post-polio syndrome.
  • The most common type of MND is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
    • It affects both the upper and lower motor neurons—the neurons in the brain and spinal cord—which then affects the muscles of the arms, legs, mouth, and respiratory system.
    • On average, people with ALS live for 3–5 years after receiving the diagnosis, but with supportive care, some people live for 10 years or longer.
  • Treatment:
    • There is no cure or standard treatment for the MNDs. 
    • Symptomatic and supportive treatment can help people be more comfortable while maintaining their quality of life.

Q1: What is neuron?

A neuron, also known as a nerve cell, is a specialized cell in the nervous system that is responsible for transmitting information through electrical and chemical signals. Neurons are the basic building blocks of the nervous system and play a crucial role in processing and transmitting information within the body.

Source: Doctors brainstorm over quality of life for Motor Neuron Disease patients