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Motor Neurone Disease Symptoms

What are usually the first signs of motor neurone disease?

Early symptoms can include:

  • weakness in your ankle or leg you might trip, or find it harder to climb stairs.
  • slurred speech, which may develop into difficulty swallowing some foods.
  • a weak grip you might drop things, or find it hard to open jars or do up buttons.
  • muscle cramps and twitches.

How do you rule out motor neurone disease?

There is no single diagnostic test for MND. Diagnosis is based on features in the clinical history and examination, usually accompanied by electrophysiological tests, which will include EMG and nerve conduction studies. Other tests may include: MRI scanning of the brain and spinal cord.

What are the stages of motor neuron disease?

The different types of MND cause similar symptoms and have three stages: early, middle, and advanced. The diseases progress at different speeds and vary in severity.

What age can you get motor neurone disease?

Motor neurone disease is most commonly diagnosed in those over the age of 40 years, occurring mainly in those aged between 50 and 70 years. In some cases, though, symptoms can first appear in a person’s 20s. Usually the onset of motor neurone disease is gradual but younger patients may show a more rapid progression.

Where does motor neurone disease start?

In about two-thirds of people with motor neurone disease, the first symptoms occur in the arm or leg. This is sometimes called limb-onset disease. These symptoms include: a weakened grip, which can cause difficulties picking up or holding objects.

What are the chances of getting motor neurone disease?

It can affect adults of any age, but is more likely to affect people over 50. There is a 1 in 300 risk of being diagnosed with MND. In other words, if you have 10,000 people in a stadium, 33 of them will get MND at some point across a normal lifespan.

Is Parkinson’s disease a motor neuron disease?

The cause of motor neuron disease and Parkinson’s disease still remains obscure but various authors have suggested an association of these diseases with a number of conditions.

What diseases can mimic MND?

Table 2

Predominant signs Mimic disorder
LMN Neuralgic amyotrophy
Kennedy’s syndrome (spinobulbar muscular atrophy)
Motor-predominant CIDP
Inclusion body myositis


Can a blood test detect motor neurone disease?

There is no blood test to diagnose MND.

Does MND progress quickly?

MND can be rapidly progressive and has no cure, so all care and support for people with the condition must be timely and is essentially palliative. Early support from specialist palliative care services can make a huge difference to quality of life.

Can stress cause motor neuron disease?

There is strong evidence that oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of motor neurone disease (MND).

How does MND affect speech?

MND can cause weakness in the tongue, lips, vocal cords and chest. This can cause speech to become faint, slurred or unclear. It can also affect gesture and facial expression.

Can motor neurone disease be prevented?

Certain dietary factors, such as higher intake of antioxidants and vitamin E, have been shown, at least in some studies, to decrease the risk of MND. Interestingly, increased physical fitness and lower body mass index (BMI) have been shown to be associated with a higher risk of MND.

How long can you have MND before diagnosis?

Where for some people it’s like three years or something before they actually find out. MND is a rare condition and most GPs will only see one or two people with it in their careers, so they are likely to think first of other conditions or causes for the symptoms.

How can I help someone with motor neurone disease?

Mobility, communication and respiratory support devices are just some of the types of equipment that can help MND sufferers. It can enable them to be more easily cared for and to stay more connected with their families and communities.

What are the signs of motor neurone disease in adults?

Symptoms of motor neurone disease (MND)

  • muscle aches, cramps, twitching.
  • clumsiness, stumbling.
  • weakness or changes in hands, arms, legs and voice.
  • slurred speech, swallowing or chewing difficulty.
  • fatigue.
  • muscle wasting, weight loss.

Does motor neurone disease affect the bowels?

Bowel problems: are not usually caused directly by MND, but constipation may occur due to restricted mobility and/or changes to diet. Increasing fluid and fibre may help, or ask your doctor to prescribe a laxative. Diarrhoea can sometimes happen with a severely constipated bowel.

Are you born with motor neurone disease?

Symptoms can be present at birth or appear in early childhood. In adults, MNDs are more likely to be sporadic, meaning the disease occurs with no family history. Symptoms typically appear after age 50, though onset of disease may occur at any age.

What are the four types of motor neuron disorders?

Different types of MND

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): ALS is the most common form of MND and accounts for about 60 -70% of the total MND cases. …
  • Progressive muscular atrophy. …
  • Primary lateral sclerosis. …
  • Progressive bulbar palsy. …
  • Flail arm / Flail leg variants.

How did Stephen Hawking get MND?

While in Cambridge, his father took him to the family physician who sent him to the hospital for tests after his 21st birthday. Stephen Hawking told the British Medical Journal that this motor neuron disease has many potential causes, and that his ailment might be due to an inability to absorb vitamins [1].

What are the 5 stages of Parkinson disease?

The 5 stages of PD are as follows:

  • Stage I. Symptoms at this stage are mild and do not interfere with daily activities. …
  • Stage II. Symptoms at this stage become worse, making daily activities more difficult. …
  • Stage III. Symptoms at this stage (mid-stage) are more severe than those of stage II. …
  • Stage IV. …
  • Stage V.

Is Parkinson’s upper or lower motor neuron?

In Parkinson’s disease, the upper motor neuron is indirectly affected. Respiratory muscle involvement entails alveolar hypoventilation, decreased cough capacity, and the risk of aspiration due to bulbar dysfunction.

Can MND be mistaken for Parkinson’s?

In sum, we found that MND occurs in association with diverse parkinsonian syndromes; some are heritable, others sporadic and causes are uncertain. Having MND may be a risk factor for parkinsonism.

Does MND affect eyes?

Oculomotor Function Alterations. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a condition that affects motor neurons and large areas of the brain, so ocular movements may be affected.

What is Kennedy’s disease?

Kennedy’s disease is a rare inherited neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles, particularly the arms and legs. Other major symptoms include severe cramps and problems with speech and swallowing. The disease progresses slowly, and life expectancy is usually normal.

What part of the brain is affected by motor neurone disease?

The motor system

Motor neurones are divided into two groups: upper motor neurones (in the brain) and lower motor neurones (in the brainstem at the base of the brain, the spinal cord, and in the arms, legs and torso). Both upper and lower motor neurones can be affected by MND.

Is MND a painful death?

The evidence from many studies is that death from MND is peaceful when there is good palliative care with good management of both symptoms and the support of patient and family.

Is motor neurone disease an autoimmune disease?

The possibility of an autoimmune pathogenesis in motor neurone disease (MND) has been debated for many years with little consensus. However, recent evidence from different sources has served to redirect attention towards such an involvement.

Does MND run in families?

Most people who develop MND have no family history of the condition, and it is extremely unlikely to develop in other family members. (See below for familial or inherited MND). Little is known about what causes this form of MND.

What vitamins help ALS?

A Phase 2/3 clinical study (NCT00444613) showed that taking vitamin B12 immediately after symptom onset can slow ALS progression and improve prognosis. Other vitamin supplements include vitamin A, vitamins B1 and B2, and vitamin C.

What percentage of patients with motor neurone disease suffer with dysphagia?

This information is for health and social care professionals. Swallowing problems known as dysphagia affect at least two-thirds of all people with MND during the course of their illness. This can have an impact on nutrition and saliva management.

Do all MND sufferers lose their voice?

Not everyone with MND will develop speech problems – the MND Association provides information about symptoms and types of MND. The loss of speech could be frightening and hard to adjust to.

How can a speech and language therapist help someone with motor neurone disease?

Speech and Language Therapists can provide support for both communication and swallow changes in people with Motor Neuron disease. They can uncover any issues and help you to manage them.

What toxins cause motor neuron disease?

An algal toxin called BMAA has long been associated with the increased incidence of a motor neurone disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

How does MND affect family?

The experience of caregiving for family members with MND is unremitting and exhausting, due to the progressive nature of the disease and the lack of treatment or cure so far. Family caregivers suffer from grief, anxiety, depression, strain, burden, fatigue, impaired quality of life and reduced social contacts.

How does motor neurone disease affect the respiratory system?

Breathing. In most people with MND the muscles used for breathing (called the respiratory muscles) are affected at some stage. This can cause breathlessness and other symptoms such as tiredness, disturbed sleep and poor concentration. You may find that you cannot cough properly to clear your throat.

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Tommy E. Junkins

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