Motor Neuron Disease: NHS symptoms of MND and what is Motor Neuron Disease?

These are the symptoms of Motor Neuron Disease after rugby player Ed Slater revealed he has been diagnosed with the condition.

Former rugby union player Ed Slater has said he is taking “each day as it comes” after being diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease (MND).

The 34-year-old former Gloucester lock revealed he had been diagnosed with the degenerative condition, which has affected a number of sport stars including Scotland legend Doddie Weir.

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Speaking to the BBC, the father of three said: “It was month after month, my arm got weaker and weaker, my grip became weaker, and I went to Oxford and was diagnosed with MND.”

Stephen Hawking, the physicist who wrote A Brief History of Time, had Motor Neurone Disease (PA).Stephen Hawking, the physicist who wrote A Brief History of Time, had Motor Neurone Disease (PA).
Stephen Hawking, the physicist who wrote A Brief History of Time, had Motor Neurone Disease (PA).

"I'm not saying that makes it easier when you're diagnosed - it absolutely doesn't - but in some ways it had been 11 months of torment, different symptoms, not knowing, looking for different reasons, and to have definitive diagnosis - it sounds strange to say this - but at least it gave me an answer.

"I don't think too far into the future and I take each day as it comes. I find that's a peaceful place for me and keeps me in best spirits as I can."

Here’s everything you need to know about Motor Neuron Disease, including symptoms and treatment.

What is Motor Neurone Disease? Is there a cure?

Motor Neuron Disease is a rare condition which affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness in parts of the body which gradually worsens over time.

MND mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s, but it can affect people at any age.

The disease attacks the nerves that control movement (motor neurons), so muscles no longer work.

Sadly, there is currently no cure for MND, but there are treatments which can reduce the impact of the symptoms on a person’s life. MND can shorten life expectancy and tragically it is eventually fatal.

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What are the NHS symptoms of Motor Neurone Disease?

The official symptoms of MND, according to the NHS, include: weakness in the ankle or leg, slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing, a weak grip, muscle cramps and twitches, and weight loss.

Another symptom could be a difficulty stopping yourself from laughing or crying in inappropriate situations.

MND does not affect the mental ability of the person with the illness

Which famous people have Motor Neurone Disease?

Probably the most famous person who had Motor Neuron Disease was Stephen Hawking. The brilliant physicist was diagnosed at just 21-years-old, after noticing symptoms of clumsiness and his speech slurring.

His body gradually deteriorated over the years, and he eventually became paralysed. In his later years, Professor Hawking was able to speak using a machine which detected movements in his cheek muscles.

Though he was given a life expectancy of just two years when diagnosed, Professor Hawking lived until he was 76-years-old, dying in March 2018.

Other famous names who have the condition include Doddie Weir and Rob Burrow.

What is the cause of Motor Neurone Disease? And how many people get it?

It is not clear exactly what causes Motor Neuron Disease, and scientists are working to understand the condition.

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Researchers currently believe that a number of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors could combine to cause MND to develop.

However, evidence in these studies has been conflicting, and clear conclusions have not yet been found.



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