This blog is part of the ‘Highlights from Perth’ collection of articles, where you can read about the content of some of the talks and posters presented at the 30th International Symposium on ALS/MND in Perth. Presentations have a code beginning with ‘C’ followed by a number (e.g. C50) to help locate the specific abstract in the official abstract book.
People with MND may experience difficulties with chewing and swallowing (dysphagia), problems with hand and arm control, reduced mobility and fatigue, which can make the effort of eating and drinking tiring. Dysphagia can affect around 85% of people with MND at some point throughout their disease progression. This is due to a weakening of the muscles in the mouth and throat, making it harder to eat and drink. Some people with MND choose to have a gastrostomy – a surgical opening through the abdomen into the stomach. This allows tube feeding – a way of passing specially prepared food and fluids straight into the stomach. Adapting nutritional intake and monitoring weight is important to help avoid unintentional weight loss that is associated with faster disease progression and shorter survival.