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Aurora magazine

Motor neuron disease: causes and symptoms

Motor neuron disease is actually a set of pathologies that affects motion neurons. All these diseases are characterized by damage to the motor neurons, which determine the communication between brain and muscles. Information no longer passes and muscle mass is reduced, making movements impossible.

The most famous motor neuron disease is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), but the group is heterogeneous. Almost all diseases have a lack of strength in one hand or leg as their first symptom. In some cases, the subject struggles to speak and swallow, as well as to move. Muscle cramps begin to appear, especially at night, and fasciculations. Almost none of the motor neuron diseases cause decay of intellectual functions. Sensitivity also remains intact, as well as urinary functions. However, the evolution of the disease largely depends on the individual patient and the type of pathology.

To date it is impossible to understand in advance how the disease will evolve and what the future degree of motor autonomy will be. The diagnosis of a motor neuron disease involves a neurological examination and instrumental tests. These include a nuclear magnetic resonance, which serves to carry out a neuroradiological study of the brain and spinal cord.

This way it is possible to determine if it is ALS or another disease. For the moment there are no resolutive therapies for this type of disease. Current treatments are mainly used to slow down the evolution of the disease.