What is Motor Neurone Disease?
According to Talbot et al. (2010), Motor Neurone Disease, which is also known as MND, is when progressive degeneration occurs in the motor neurones of the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurones are nerve cells that control the muscles in the body. They also stated that as the progressive degeneration occurs of these muscles, messages to the muscles stop working which leads to the muscles then becoming weak and they begin to waste. The wasting of muscle usually begins in the arms and legs of the person who is suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (2014) stated that some patients suffering from Motor Neurone Disease can develop a weakness or wasting of the muscles in their face and throat. If this does occur, the patient with Motor Neurone Disease can have problems with swallowing, talking, chewing, walking, drinking and even breathing.
According to HSE (2013), this disease usually progresses from one limb to another, onto breathing muscles and even to the tongue. Talbot et al. (2010) pointed out that there is no known specific cause for Motor Neurone Disease. HSE (2013) claim that in Ireland around 110 patients suffering from Motor Neurone Disease die each year from the disease. People aged 50 and over are more common to get it, however on rare occasions some people may get it in their 20s or 30s. Talbot et al. (2010) stated that females and males can both get Motor Neurone Disease, although males are two times more likely to get it.
Oral and Dental Considerations for Motor Neurone Disease
According to Bricker et al. (2002) the following are a list of things that should be taken into account regarding oral and dental considerations for patients suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.
• Difficulty in chewing food
• Difficulty in swallowing (also known as dysphagia)
• Difficulty in talking (also known as dysphonia)
• Tongue quivers
• Patients with Motor Neurone Disease usually become wheelchair bound
• Cannot stick out tongue out of their mouth
• Tongue shrinks (is reduced in size)
• Food can come out the nose when trying to swallow
• May not able to eat properly
• Possibility of choking when eating
• Fissures can occur along the dorsal surface of the tooth
• Weakness in muscles when trying to open or hold open their mouth
Treatment of Motor Neurone Disease
Carton (2012) suggests that no known cure is available for Motor Neurone Disease at present. Most people who get the disease survive for around 3-5 years, although some patients suffering from Motor Neurone Disease may survive for much longer than this. HSE (2013) stated that the drug riluzole can be used to slow the progression of the disease and hopefully increase the life expectancy of some people who suffer from Motor Neurone Disease.
Carton (2012) also stated that Motor Neurone Disease sufferers usually attend physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists for treatment...