The motor neurone diseases (or motor neuron diseases) (MND) are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurones, the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body.
In the United States, MND is more commonly called ''Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)'', or ''Lou Gehrig's disease'', after the baseball player.In France the disease is sometimes known as ''Maladie de Charcot'' (Charcot's disease), although it may also be referred to by the direct translation of ALS, Sclerose Laterale Amyotrophique (SLA). To avoid confusion, the annual scientific research conference dedicated to the study of MND is called the International ALS/MND Symposium.
Although other 19th century neurologists previously described the disease, a French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, first suggested grouping together disparate conditions that affect the lateral horn of the spinal cord in 1869.
Forms of motor neurone disease include:
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease)
- primary lateral sclerosis (PLS)
- progressive muscular atrophy (PMA)
- pseudobulbar palsy - spastic
- progressive bulbar palsy - spastic and flaccid
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is classified under MND by MeSH, but not by ICD-10.
The search for a drug that will slow MND progression is under way. Agents that are currently in trials include ceftriaxone, arimoclomol, IGF-1, lithium and coenzyme Q10 to name but a few.
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