Motor Neuron Disease (MND) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the upper and lower motor neurons. Degeneration of the motor neurons progressively leads to weakness of muscles eventually causing an irreversible loss of mobility in the limbs, and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing. The disease can affect any adult at any age; however diagnosis occurs most often over the age of 40. Around two people per every 100,000 will be diagnosed with MND and men are affected twice as often as women.
There are four known types of MND: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Progressive Bulbar Palsy (PBP), Progressive Muscular Atrophy (PMA), and Primary Lateral Sclerosis (PLS). ALS is the most common type of MND; however symptoms between the different groups overlap. The life expectancy from the onset of symptoms ranges from 6 months to five years, however there are some cases such as Stephen Hawking who has survived for 48 years persevering through ALS.
For more information on MND as well as other progressive conditions, please follow one of the links below:
Helpline: 0345 626262 (Monday to Friday 9.00 – 22.30, calls charged at local rate within the UK)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurological disease that causes interference between messages sent between the brain and muscles. The disease is thought to be a result of the immune system attacking the protective coating around axons of the brain and spinal cord called myelin. Its effects are less rapid than motor neurone disease, however there is a steady and progressive deterioration of myelin which has debilitating effects on mobility. Chronic MS is the most frequent demyelinating disease associated with inflammation and it affects one in every 1000 individuals within the Western world. Around 100,000 people in the United Kingdom have the disease.
There are three main types of MS: Relapsing Remitting (RR), Secondary Progressive (SP) and Primary Progressive (PP) MS. Life expectancy varies; It is possible to live a normal life span with MS, as it does not itself cause death. However, as a result of having an abnormal immune system the risk of infections from normally innocuous bugs is much higher. Symptoms of MS include difficulty with balance and coordination, fatigue, visual problems, numbness, bladder and bowel problems, stiffness or spasms of muscles and tremor, cognitive problems with memory and thinking, sexual problems, mood changes, and speech and swallowing difficulties.
For more information on MS, please follow one of the links below:
National MS Society
Free help line: 0808 800 8000 and firstname.lastname@example.org
The MS online community including facebook, twitter, youtube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Myspace, and Virtual Worlds can be easily accessed at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/online-community/index.aspx