What are Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs)?

1 min read
What are Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs)? Blog Image


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