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25
Aug 2014
Motor Neurone Disease and the Ice Bucket Challenge
If you're wondering why your social media timeline or newspaper is full of people tipping freezing cold water over their heads (in ever-more extreme and original methods) and unsure what they're actually rasing money for, then read on. The challenge began in the US as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and has quickly gone viral, already leading to donations of almost$80million dollars across the pond, according to Time magazine.Here in the UK the Ice Bucket Challenge has recently gained momentum andis done predominantly in support of Motor Neurone Disease. But what exactly is ALS or Motor Neurone Disease and why the different names? Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a term used in the US to describe what we refer to in the UK as Motor Neurone Disease (MND). There are numerous forms of MND, but ALS is the most prevalent. The MND Association website explains the differencesuccinctlyhere or the detailed version is available from the Oxford MND Centrehere.Despite the subtle differences, the terms are used almost interchangeably. MND is a progressive, degenerative and debilitating neurolgical condition affecting the ability of motor neurones (nerves) in the brain and spinal cord to effectivley transmit messages to muscles. This leads to muscle wasting and a range of symptoms including pain, discomfort, stiffness, speech impairment and breathing difficulties. Detailed information about Motor Neurone Disease is availablehere or on the MND Association's excellentwebsite. If you're concerned you have any sypmtoms, don't hesitate to visit your GP. The Ice Bucket Challenge is not without its detractors and controversies, but no-one can deny that it has succeeded in raising awareness for a condition that is not particularly well-known or understood by many. MND is truly life-changing for sufferers, which number around 5000 people in the UK alone. And it can be argued that anything that helps to raise a significant amount of money in such a short space of time, particularly form those who may not donate regularly to charity, can only be a positive thing. If you want to take part and/or donate, visit the MND Association websitehere for details and rules.And don't forget to take care!
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