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Motor neurone disease

Motor neurone disease Causes

According to studies, about 90% of MND are sporadic, which means that it is not hereditary and the disease occurred without a known cause. Genetic factors are however important in determining an individual's susceptibility to the disease. There is also some weak support that onset can be triggered by yet to be determined environmental factors.

Motor neurone disease Definition

MND or motor neurone diseases are a group of progressive neurological disorders that destroy the cells that control voluntary muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing. Those cells are called motor neurons. The disease has several forms including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), and bulbar. Spinal muscular atrophy is sometimes considered a form of MND.

Motor neurone disease Diagnosis

When conducting microscopic examination, neurons may show spongiosis as well as presence of astrocytes, and a number of “skein-like” inclusions, bunina bodies, and vacuolization. Diagnostic criteria called El Escorial have also been defined by the World Federation of Neurologists for use in research relevant to the disease.

Motor neurone disease Symptoms and Signs

Patients with damaged upper motor neurone show spasticity, brisk reflexes, and the Babinski sign. Patients with damaged lower motor neurone meanwhile may manifest weakness and muscle atrophy. Said symptoms usually arise between the ages 50-70, which includes progressive weakness, muscle wasting and muscle fasciculations.

Motor neurone disease Treatment

Treatment of patients with MND focuses on the relief symptoms associated with the disease. It therefore involves visits and consultations with health professionals such as neurologists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, respiratory therapists, social workers, palliative care specialists, specialist nurses and psychologists. ALS meanwhile has no cure and the only drug that affects the course of the disease is riluzole. Riluzole blocks the effects of the neurotransmitter glutamate. It also believed to help extend the life span of the patient but only for a few months.

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