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What are some treatments for motor neuron diseases?

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Although there are no standard treatments for motor neuron diseases, symptomatic and supportive treatments, such as muscle relaxants, help to relieve spasms, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. Other medications help to relieve excess saliva and pain. In the later stages of the disease, the patient may require morphine or opiates. As of 2016, there are no cures for motor neuron diseases.

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Full Answer

Motor neuron diseases include disorders that progressively destroy the nerve cells necessary for walking, speaking, breathing and swallowing, reports the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. This destruction prevents the brain from providing necessary signals to the muscles. The muscles gradually become weaker and waste away, with the patient becoming unable to control voluntary movement and experiencing uncontrollable twitching.

Motor neuron diseases include both hereditary and inherited conditions and affect people of all ages, notes the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. They are most common in men and especially after age 40; however, some of the hereditary forms are present at birth or become apparent before the child learns to walk.

The prognosis of motor neuron diseases depends on the patient's age at its onset and the type of disease. Some progress slowly and are not fatal. Patients may remain stable for extended periods, but the condition does not improve, warns the National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke. Other diseases in this family are fatal.

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