The tiny fruit fly has joined the fight against MND.  Fruit flies are estimated to share approximately 60% of the genes that make us human and have long been used as a tool to study the inheritance of genes. More recently fruit flies have been used as models of disease including Alzheimer’s disease and now MND.

The over-excitability of brain cells controlling our muscles has previously been observed in MND patients. Researchers from Rome, Italy led by Massimo Pieri aimed to determine if this over-excitability came about because of the processes happening inside each individual motor neurone or because of an interaction between motor neurones.

Motor neurones are the longest cells in the human body and can reach up to 1 metre in length. This causes a few transport problems for the cell as it must use a large amount of energy to power the transport of all kinds of molecules needed in the far reaches of the synapse.

Due to reports of a higher than expected incidence of MND in professional sports people some researchers think there might be a relationship between rigorous exercise and onset of MND. A prime example of which is an unusually large proportion of MND in Italian soccer players.  So far there is not enough evidence to say this is actually occurring in humans.

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