With the recent surge in identification of genes responsible for various familial forms of MND, the task at hand has become putting all the pieces together to build a picture of what precisely causes neurones to die in MND. Thus, finding common biological pathways across the various forms of sporadic and familial forms of MND is vital.

The Northern Neuron is a publication of the ALS Society of Canada. Its purpose is to highlight ALS research in Canada and to inform readers of promising developments taking place both nationally and internationally towards treatment and a cure for this devastating disease. 

As the name suggests, motor neurone disease is a disease in which the neurones that control muscle function, the motor neurones, are dysfunctional and eventually die. This loss of motor neurones from the nervous system gives rise to the outward symptoms of loss of muscle control and wasting. However, motor neurones may not be the only dysfunctional cells that contribute to MND.

Just like flicking a light switch genes can be switched on and off by a process known as methylation. This is a useful thing in the body because there are genes that need to be switched on in liver cells that are not required in brain cells and vice versa.

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