One of the most commonly asked questions from people living with MND is ‘Why me?’
“MND is a devastating condition. By finding the causes we will be able to find the cure. That’s what we have to do.”
– Ammar Al Chalabi, Professor of Neurology and Complex Disease Genetics, King’s College London
Risk factors in MND
Most forms of MND are likely to be caused by many small contributory risk factors, including subtle genetic and environmental influences. In combination, they may ‘tip the balance’ towards someone developing the disease.
For the majority of people with MND, genetics plays a subtle role in the development of the disease. However, for 5-10% of people, who have the inherited forms of MND (runs in their family), their genetic makeup is more significant.
Lifestyle and environment
Exposure to environmental factors that might contribute to the development of MND has been extensively studied over the years. These studies have identified possible links with prior exposure to: mechanical and/or electrical trauma, military service, high levels of exercise, agricultural chemicals and variety of heavy metals.
The evidence obtained in these studies has often been circumstantial or conflicting and there are no clear conclusions. With such limited information it is not possible to provide advice or guidance to reduce the risk of developing MND.
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- Lessons learnt from cancer Using a mathematical model, research in 2014 suggests that it takes six triggers to cause MND.
- Physical activity and MND Research presented at the 24th International Symposium on ALS/MND suggested that physical activity may be a risk factor for MND in those already genetically predisposed.