Motor Neurone Disease

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is the name of a group of progressive neurological conditions that affect the nerves (motor neurones) in the brain that tell your muscles what to do. MND affects muscles within the body, usually causing them to become weaker over time. We know that MND affects people very differently, and that there is variation in the symptoms that people with MND experience.

Scientists do not yet fully understand what causes MND. It is thought that a number of genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors need to combine before most forms of MND can develop. In most people, MND appears to develop sporadically, although we do know that in up to 1 in 10 people, their genes have more of an effect on the disease developing. Please ask us if you would like to know more about this.

We understand that being given a diagnosis of MND is a hugely worrying time for patients and their families. Please see contact our MND Coordinator if you would like to talk to someone.


It is important to know that not everyone has all the symptoms listed below, or in the same order. The speed at which symptoms progress can also vary.

Some people with MND may notice some of the following;

  • Weakness or stiffness in your limbs– 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
  • weight loss – your arms or leg muscles may have become thinner over time
  • difficulty stopping yourself crying or laughing in inappropriate situations
  • problems with saliva- where thin saliva pools in your mouth or saliva becomes thick and sticky
  • weakened cough- which makes it harder to clear your throat
  • breathing problems- which can lead you to feel breathless or very tired
  • changes to thinking and behaviour- for about half of people with a diagnosis of MND