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Motor neurone diseases (MND) are thought to affect approximately 5000 adults in the UK, with about 1,100 people diagnosed each year.0F0F They are a group of uncommon, progressive neurological conditions affecting the motor neurones (nerves) in the brain and spinal cord that control “skeletal muscle activity such as walking, breathing, speaking, and swallowing”.1F1F There are several different types of MNDs, though all cause muscle weakness and worsen over time.  The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that “most people die within 2–3 years of developing symptoms, but 25% are alive at 5 years and 10% at 10 years”.

The Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND Association) describes MND research over the last two decades as having “moved from a relative scientific ‘backwater’ to the forefront of neurological disease research”.  To date, Government funding for MND research has been made available via the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). In late 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also announced that at least £50 million of Government funding would be made available specifically for research to help find a cure for MND, as part of £375m to be invested in neurodegenerative disease research over the next five years. Research funding for MND also comes from the charity sector. It is estimated, for example, that the UK public donated over £7m as part of the “Ice Bucket Challenge” in the summer of 2014 for MND research projects.

This debate pack provides further information about MNDs and on funding for MND research.


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