Information for the public
What is motor neurone disease?
Motor neurone disease is commonly known as MND. It is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is usually shortened to ALS.
The motor neurones are nerves in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles used for gripping, walking, moving, speaking, swallowing and breathing. In MND the motor neurones gradually stop working properly, so their messages do not get through to the muscles. This means that MND affects how you grip, walk, move, speak, swallow and breathe.
There is no cure for MND, but treatment aims to help people have the best quality of life possible by managing their symptoms, providing equipment and devices that can help with day-to-day activities, and supporting the person and their family or carers.
MND can also affect the areas of the brain involved in thinking, language, behaviour and personality. Doctors call this 'cognitive change'.
For most people, any cognitive changes will be mild. A small number of people may have more severe cognitive changes that may affect the way they behave, their personality and thinking. This is called 'motor neurone disease with frontotemporal dementia'. It is sometimes shortened to FTD.