Motor Neuron Diseases

Abstract

Motor neuron disease is an umbrella term referring to a group of diseases in which there is death of the lower motor neurons and/or the upper motor neurons. Some of these diseases are genetic, but most occur sporadically, that is unpredictably without any identified environmental or genetic cause.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; spinal muscular atrophy; primary lateral sclerosis; glutamate toxicity

Figure 1.

Schematic representation showing the course of the pyramidal tract, the homuncular organization of the motor cortex in the precentral gyrus, the concentration of the motor output within the internal capsule, and the decussation of the pyramidal tract in the medulla oblongata. (From Donaghy M (1997) Neurology, Oxford University Press.)

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Further Reading

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Rothstein JD, Martin LJ and Kuncl RW (1992) Decreased glutamate transport by the brain and spinal cord in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. New England Journal of Medicine 326: 1464–1468.

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How to Cite close
Donaghy, Michael(Jun 2001) Motor Neuron Diseases. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002317]