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.
Regardless, researchers in the UK headed by Professor Pamela Shaw have investigated the biological processes that occur when mice have undertaken extreme physical exercise. They found that in order for the mice to keep exercising a few molecular rearrangements needed to be made. In particular, the end of the motor neurones that communicate with muscles (synapse) needed to be able to adapt and change.
Although there is no direct link between this study and MND the researchers say that this may have implications for MND since the junction between neurones and muscles are known to be susceptible to damage. They hypothesise that extreme exercise may be associated with the onset of MND in some cases.
Source: International MND research update – June 2009, Dr Justin Yerbury for MNDRIA