Motor neurone disease

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The motor neurone diseases (or motor neuron diseases) (MND) are a group of neurological disorders that selectively affect motor neurones,[1] the cells that control voluntary muscle activity including speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body.

Contents

Terminology

MND refers to a group of diseases that affect motor neurones. In the United States, MND is more commonly called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, after the baseball player.[2] In France the disease is sometimes known as maladie de Charcot (Charcot's disease), although it may also be referred to by the direct translation of ALS, sclerose laterale amyotrophique (SLA). To avoid confusion, the annual scientific research conference dedicated to the study of MND is called the International ALS/MND Symposium. ALS/MND refers to a specific subset of pathologically identical diseases; there are numerous other afflictions of motor neurones that are pathologically distinct from ALS/MND and have a different clinical course. Examples of other diseases of the motor neurone that should not be confused with ALS/MND include spinobulbar muscular atrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and many others.

History

Although other 19th century neurologists previously described the disease, a French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, first suggested grouping together disparate conditions that affect the lateral horn of the spinal cord in 1869.

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