Research updates

Take part in research

Are you interested in participating in research? Researchers at the University of Southampton are looking for carers of people living with MND to take part in their study to develop a web-based decision aid (DA). The DA will be designed to support people with MND and their carers in making the decision on whether to have a gastrostomy feeding tube. For more information or if you are interested in taking part, please contact the study team at: or 02380 597939. Follow their progress on Twitter.


Chinese fungus could treat MND

A recent study in China found that Hirsutella sinensis (HS), or Chinese caterpillar fungus, reduced loss of spinal cord motor neurones and increased the lifespan in a SOD1 mouse model of MND. It is believed that a group of nerve cells called microglia, which normally protect and support motor neurones, may become overactive which leads to the inflammation associated with MND.

The researchers administered HS to the SOD1 mice and results showed that HS-treated mice lived longer than those treated with placebo. They also found that HS treatment reduced the loss of spinal cord motor neurons associated with MND progression. HS has been shown to be neuroprotective and have a suppressive effect of microglia, suggesting it may be a promising new treatment for MND. You can read more about this in this article.


Decoding the causes of MND

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have carried out the largest ever study of 1,117 people with MND to address the question of ‘nature vs nurture’ in the causes of MND. They have shown that genetics account for 52% of the risk of developing the disease, meaning that other factors or exposures must also be present for the condition to develop.

The study lead, Dr Marie Ryan, also looked at people who carry a known genetic mutation associated with MND. One of these is an abnormality in the C9ORF72 gene and Dr Ryan found that those who carried an abnormal copy of this gene and developed MND were more likely to have inherited it from their mothers. This is the first time this kind of inheritance pattern has been discovered in people living with MND. Knowing that genetic and non-genetic factors contribute equally to the chance of developing MND and establishing how these MND-related genes interact together, will help us to find better and new ways to fight the disease.


The Research Development team be reached by phone 01604 611880 or by email on If you’d like to chat about any of these articles, please get in touch.

For further information and support contact our MND Connect helpline

mndconnect 0808 802 6262