Motor neuron disease (MND) encompasses several degenerative diseases that attack the motor neurons in the brain, the nerves that control your muscles. In people with motor neuron diseases, messages to the muscles are disrupted. With no signals reaching them, the muscles begin to stiffen and weaken and eventually waste away. Depending on the severity, muscle wasting can lead to physical difficulties and the need for breathing assistance.
Motor neuron disease is uncommon and even rarer in people under the age of 40. Men in their 60s and 70s are at a slightly higher risk of developing the condition, but it is difficult to identify overarching risk factors; researches are still working to learn more. Though motor neuron disease is not genetic, five to 10% of people with motor neuron disease have what doctors call "inherited MND," which occurs when mutations in the DNA, passed down from a parent, are responsible for the condition.
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