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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.

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 all cases
  • 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.

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)

Where can I find further information?


For downloadable factsheets, please click here.

Information Kits

Feel free to contact our friendly team by calling (03) 9830 2122 or emailing info@mnd.asn.au for specific information kits.

Information Sessions

MND Victoria host numerous information sessions for not only people who have been diagnosed, but their family and friends. We provide a safe space for people to come together and ask questions about their MND diagnosis. Scroll through our events to find out about upcoming information sessions.


How does MND Victoria help?

MND Victoria works with people living with MND and their carers. We 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.

Evidence shows that the best possible treatment for MND is the support of a specialised multidisciplinary team

There are many medical and allied health professionals that provide support to people living with MND in different areas of need.