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What is Motor Neurone Disease?

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a progressive neurological condition that attacks the motor neurones, or nerves, in the brain and spinal cord. This means messages gradually stop reaching the muscles, which leads to weakness and wasting.

MND can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. However, not all symptoms necessarily happen to everyone and it is unlikely they will all develop at the same time, or in any specific order.

Causes

Genetics and lifestyle and environmental factors are thought to contribute to MND, although research is ongoing.

Why is FutureNeuro focused on Motor Neurone Disease?

MND strikes people of all ages and currently there is no cure, however symptoms can be managed to help the person achieve the best possible quality of life.

Early diagnosis is essential in the search for effective therapies for MND, but there is often a delay in diagnosis of 12-15 months. When the current life expectancy for those with MND is 3-5 years, an early diagnosis can improve symptoms.

Our investigators have already played leading roles in recent advances in pharmacogenomics and personalized therapies in MND and through our unique thematic approaches of DiagnosisTherapeutics and E-Health we aim to build upon that.

  • Jochen Prehn has pioneered imaging and mathematical modelling of neurological behaviour and co-discovered the MND risk gene.
  • Orla Hardiman is a world leader in MND research. She is one of the founding PIs of the international Project MinE and TRICALS initiatives.  Her group has made important discoveries in ALS genomics, including the identification of ANG as a causative gene in ALS/MND, and the identification of a genetic link between ALS/MND and schizphrenia. She leads a multidisciplinary research group of 30 individuals focusing on 8 thematic areas  luding:epidemiology and clinical phenotyping; cognition; genomics; neuroimaging, signal analysis; health services research; quality of life; and drug development. Orla also works closely with Research Motor Neurone .

Resources for people with Motor Neurone Disease

The Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association is the national support organisation for people affected by MND.