MOTOR NEURON DISEASES (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     29th June 2024        

Context:  The annual conference on MND 'Awareness, Care, and Management' at Nimhans, Bengaluru, emphasized that symptomatic and supportive treatments significantly improve condition management.

Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs)

  • About: MNDs are progressive neurological disorders that damage motor neurons, affecting voluntary muscle control crucial for activities like walking and speaking.
  • Role of Motor Neurons: It is located in the brain and spinal cord transmit signals to muscles, directing their movements and functions.
  • Age: While MNDs can manifest at any age, symptoms typically emerge after 50 years of age.
  • Symptoms: Early signs include muscle weakness and speech difficulties, often leading to eventual paralysis as the disease advances.
  • Gender Disparity: MNDs tend to affect more males than females.
  • Causes of MND: The exact cause of MND remains unclear, but it is likely influenced by a blend of environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors.

oApproximately 1 in 10 cases are familial, stemming from inherited genetic mutations or errors.

oMND encompasses various conditions such as ALS, progressive bulbar palsy, and spinal muscular atrophy, each with distinct characteristics and impacts.

  • Prognosis: The average life expectancy post-diagnosis of ALS ranges from 3 to 5 years, though supportive care can extend survival in some cases.
  • Treatment: Presently, there is no known cure or universally effective treatment for MNDs.
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