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What is Motor Neurone Disease?

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is an uncommon disease and often people may not have heard of the condition prior to being diagnosed.

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a progressive, degenerative, neurological condition with no known cure.

Motor neurone disease (MND) is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells - neurones - controlling the muscles that enable us to move around, speak, breathe and swallow, fail to work normally. Motor function is controlled by uppermotor neurones (UMN) in the brain that descend to the spinal cord; these neurones activate anterior horn cells – lower motor neurones (LMN). The LMN exit the spinal cord and directly activate muscles. With no nerves to activate them, muscles gradually weaken and waste. The patterns of weakness vary from person to person.

Motor Neurone Disease is also known in different parts of the world as:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), named after the most common type
  • Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Maladie de Charcot (Charcot’s disease)

The different types of MND are often categorised as:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - 65% of all cases
  • Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP) - 25% of all cases
  • Flail Limb (including the variant Progressive Muscular Atrophy) - 9%  of allcases
  • Primary Lateral Sclerosis - 1% of all cases

A small proportion (5–15%) of people with MND will receive a diagnosis of ‘motor neurone disease with frontotemporal dementia’ or MND/ FTD. Often the symptoms of dementia precede the motor symptoms, sometimes by a number of years

In Victoria approximately 440 people are living with the condition at any given time.

What can be done?

Support people include family, friends, general practitioners, neurologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, dietitians, home care nurses, social workers, palliative care workers, community care services and MND Associations in each state and territory.

Most MND Associations employ professional staff. They work with people living with MND and their carers. They provide information about resources, equipment and support based on a wide understanding of the issues associated with each stage of the disease. Find out about the range of MND Support Services available from MND Victoria.

Download the above information here for basic MND Facts in the form of a leaflet. Translated information sheets are also available for download in for following languages:

Where can I find further information?

You can read more information on MND by downloading the brochure  MND - More Facts  - it provides more detail using a series of questions and answers, offering further depth and breadth to the issues raised in MND - Some Facts. In addition, it responds to a number of other questions. You can also read our General MND Information Kit.

Information about hereditary factors, different forms of MND, as well as answers to a range of frequently asked questions, is available from the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Victoria. Call or email to find out more

Call 1800 806 632 Email