It’s not just about the neurones

Long before the latest wave of cellular and molecular biology advances started to give us new information on what was going on at the cellular level in MND, some doctors had observed that if the disease started in one particular part of the body, it would be neighbouring parts that became affected next.  This suggested that the disease usually starts in a single part of the brain or spinal cord before spreading further, like ripples in a pond.

How this happens is not well understood. It is likely that there are a number of processes going on, but they can broadly be divided into two theories. One of these is that damaged proteins can leak out of sick neurons and ‘infect’ their neighbours – a subject we have discussed at previous international Symposia.Read More »

Funding for Gut-sy MND research announced

Yesterday the Reta Lila Weston Trust announced that they will be funding Dr Nikhil Sharma and colleagues at the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) to investigate whether the bacteria that live in our guts could alter the progression of MND. The grant is for £1.2 million over a period of four years. The LWENC is run jointly by the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and University College London (UCL).

Incredibly, researchers have found a link between the bacteria that live in our guts and important cells called microglia. We know that microglia help regulate the function of the motor neurones. This study aims to find out whether the balance of gut bacteria in MND could be linked to changes in microglia.Read More »

Season’s Greetings!

We thought we’d share this fantastic festive photo of (to our knowledge) the world’s first ‘gingerbread MRI scanner’, lovingly created by students at the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB) and kindly sent to us by Dr Martin Turner, lead investigator on the BioMOx study.

Gingerbread MRI Scanner
Gingerbread MRI Scanner

Many thanks to everyone who has so enthusiastically participated in BioMOx and our other clinical research studies, which are helping to improve both our understanding of MND and future approaches to treatment. This research simply couldn’t happen without you!

With very best wishes for the Christmas period.

The MND Association’s Research Development Team

More information on BioMOx: