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Motor neurone signalling and the effects of RNA in MND

Reading Time: 2 minutes Dr Pietro Fratta completed his first MRC-MND Association Clinical Research Training Fellowship in 2014. Last year he was awarded a new £1.16 million Clinician Scientist Fellowship to continue his research at University College London, studying the earliest physical changes that affect motor neurons in MND (our reference 946-795). Our contribution to this four year research…

Identifying the genetic causes of MND in specific populations

Reading Time: 2 minutes Dr Russell McLaughlin from Trinity College Dublin is one of our Junior Non-Clinical Fellows. Our Non-Clinical Fellowships were awarded for the first time last year. They aim to retain and develop early and mid-career MND researchers conducting biomedical research. These fellowships are funded for up to four years. We are currently funding two junior and…

Transforming skin cells into nerve cells to understand MND gene mutations

Reading Time: 2 minutes In previous research Prof Kevin Talbot and colleagues at the University of Oxford began to understand more about how the C9orf72 gene defect causes human motor neurones to die. These studies were carried out using an impressive piece of lab technology, called induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology. iPSC technology allows skin cells to be…

Using a new imaging technique to shed light on changes to nerve cells in MND

Reading Time: 2 minutes Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology is advancing rapidly as a tool for diagnosing and monitoring disease. In MND, MRI scans are used to understand changes that happen to the brain because of this disease. Prof Nigel Leigh from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (University of Sussex) is carrying out a study looking into changes…

Using surface EMG to see if fasciculations can be used as a biomarker for MND

Reading Time: 2 minutes What are fasciculations? When motor neurones in the spinal cord become damaged this makes them electrically unstable, meaning they spontaneously discharge electrical impulses that cause small groups of muscles to contract. These contractions, known as fasciculations, are a common symptom of MND. Research suggests that they might be a good marker of motor neurone health.…

Developing a blood test for MND by linking changes in the brain and spinal cord

Reading Time: 3 minutes Developing a way to rapidly diagnose and track how MND progresses over time is a ‘holy grail’ of MND research. The search for so called ‘biomarkers’ is an area that researchers funded by the MND Association are actively pursuing. MND Association grantees Dr Andrea Malaspina and Dr Ian Pike (Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of…