Motor Neurone Disease

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a fatal, rapidly progressive disease of the brain and central nervous system. It can leave people locked into a failing body, unable to move, walk and talk. Although there is no cure for motor neurone disease, treatment can help to ease symptoms and disability.

Nerves (neurones) are like wires that carry tiny impulses (messages) between the brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body. Motor nerves carry messages from the brain and spinal cord to muscles and make muscles contract. Sensory nerves carry messages of touch, temperature, sound, smell and taste from various parts of the body to the brain.


  • Around 7 in every 100,000 have the condition in the UK
  • Over 5,000 people affected in the UK today
  • It usually starts in middle age
  • Men are about twice as likely as women to be affected
  • MND kills 3 people every day. More than the number dying of AIDS
  • There is no treatment or cure
  • 1,200 newly diagnosed every year

There are various ‘sub-types’ of MND. In each type, symptoms tend to start in different ways. However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms of each type of MND tend to overlap. This means that symptoms in the later stages of each type of MND become similar.

There are various types of Motor Neurone Disease. THE MAIN TYPES OF MND ARE:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This is the most common form and is characterised by weakness and wasting in the limbs. Someone may notice they are tripping when walking or dropping things.
  • Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP). About 2 in 10 people with MND have this type. The muscles first affected are those used for talking, chewing and swallowing (the bulbar muscles).
  • Progressive Muscular Atrophy (PMA). This is an uncommon form of MND. Early symptoms may be noticed as weakness of the arms or clumsiness of the hands. It normally affects the lower motor neurones (nerves) that control muscles in the body. The muscles become steadily weaker and smaller and this results in progressive muscle weakness, causing shrinkage in muscle bulk and weight loss.
  • Primary lateral sclerosis (PLS). This is a rare type of MND. It mainly causes weakness in the lower limbs. Some people with this type may also develop clumsiness in the hands or develop speech problems.



  • David Niven – Actor
  • Willie Maddren – Boro & England Footballer
  • Don Revie – Leeds & England Manager
  • Willie Johnstone – Celtic & Scotland Footballer

The Exception is:

  • Stephen Hawking – Developed Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 1962 – 47 years with MND