Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is the name given to the group of diseases in which the motor neurones undergo degeneration and die. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), progressive bulbar palsy (PBP) and primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) are all subtypes of motor neurone disease.
Motor neurones are components of nerves in the brain and spine and control the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow. MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which these neurones fail to work normally. Muscles then gradually weaken and waste, as neurones degenerate and die. The cause and treatment of the disease are currently unknown.
According to a 1993 UK report, motor neurone disease affects between 8-10 people per 100,000 of the population, which accounts for an estimated 5,000 sufferers in the UK. 40% of the disease's sufferers will survive for 5 years, and 10% will survive for 10 years.