Treatment approaches in motor neurone disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Although there is no cure for motor neurone disease (MND), the advent of multidisciplinary care and neuroprotective agents has improved treatment interventions and enhanced quality of life for MND patients and their carers.

Recent findings

Evidence-based multidisciplinary care, respiratory management and disease-modifying therapy have improved the outcomes of patients diagnosed with MND. Supportive approaches to nutritional maintenance and optimization of symptomatic treatments, including management of communication and neuropsychiatric issues, improve the quality of life for MND patients.

Summary

Recent progress in the understanding of the clinical, pathophysiological and genetic heterogeneity of MND has improved the approach of clinicians to treatment. Notwithstanding improvement to care and quality of life, survival benefit has become evident with the advent of a multidisciplinary care framework, early treatment with riluzole and noninvasive ventilation. Weight maintenance remains critical, with weight loss associated with more rapid disease progression. The end-of-life phase is poorly defined and treatment is challenging, but effective symptom control through palliative care is achievable and essential. Encouragingly, current progress of clinical trials continues to close the gap towards the successful development of curative treatment in MND.

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