What is motor neurone disease (MND)?

Nerve cells (neurones) control the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow. Motor neurone disease (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 neurone degenerate and die.

Motor function

Motor function is controlled by the upper motor neurones in the brain that descend to the spinal cord; these neurones activate lower motor neurones. The lower motor neurones exit the spinal cord and directly activate muscles. With no nerves to activate them, muscles gradually weaken and waste. Motor neurone disease (MND) can affect a person’s ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. Watch the video below to find out more.


MND and ALS 

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. 

Although MND is the widely used generic term in the United Kingdom, Australia and parts of Europe, ALS is used more generically in the United States, Canada and South America. 

MND is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease in the US after a famous baseball player who died of the disease. 

Find out more


Diagnosis and tests

Facts and figures about MND in Australia

Just Diagnosed?

Frequently Asked Questions
What remains unaffected by MND?

Find out more about MND

Jackie Chugg at Coral Bay Western Australia

Jackie was 25 years old when she was diagnosed with MND. She tells her story about living a positive life.

Amy Critchley and her mother Lorraine

A daughter describes how her world was turned upside down the day her Mum’s MND diagnosis was confirmed. 

Facts and figures about MND in Australia

Each day in Austraila two people are diagnosed with MND. Average life expectancy in 2.5 years. Read more MND facts


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