When I’m not writing, I’m a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists work with people to assist their recovery from injury and illness. I’m a physio in a private practice. In private practice I treat post surgical patients, those with musculoskeletal injuries, neurological injuries, auto-immune disease, continence and womens health issues. Some days I make splints and plaster limbs.
It’s a great job, and one of its joys is seeing people recover from debilitating injuries. Like any health professional, sometimes my patients don’t recover. Sometimes their injury or illness is too great for our current medical knowledge, or their condition is terminal. Generally, in private practice, these occasions are few and far between, unlike some of my colleagues who work in the hospital system in places like ICU or coronary care.
One of the most difficult diseases to treat is Motor Neurone Disease (MND). In some countries it’s known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. MND causes the motor neurones to die. Your motor neurones are enormously important. They are the nerve cells that tell your muscles to contract, that keep you moving and keep you breathing and swallowing. They keep you alive. You can find more information about MND here.
MND has no cure, and almost no treatment that helps to prolong life, once diagnosis has occurred. Life expectancy from diagnosis to death is variable, but is usually from around one to five years. At this point, MND is invariably fatal.
Why am I writing about MND? Well, we have a close friend who is currently battling MND, and has been for some years. He’s currently beating the odds, but it’s a hard road for anyone to travel. This week, there was some wonderful news in the media. For the first time, a potential cause for MND has been found. You can read the story here. This means that perhaps there might one day be a cure, and in the meantime, hopefully researchers have more information from which to develop drugs to combat this disease.
There is one hiccough, though. The researchers who have made this breakthrough will come to the end of their funding at the end of this year. Let’s hope that governments and philanthropic organisations take notice, it would be an appalling outcome if their funding were to cease altogether, when finally we have a hint that might lead to a cure.
I posted a video some time back, but I’ll post the link again. It’s by our friend’s son. Please watch it.