MND stands for motor neurone disease and is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that affects nerves known as motor neurons.

In MND, these nerves degenerate and eventually die, causing muscles to weaken over time and it eventually leads to paralysis.

Rob Burrow smiles as he sits in a wheelchair and Kevin Sinfield speaks to him.
English rugby league player Rob Burrow died last week.(Reuters)

The most common type of MND is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease (after a famous American baseball player) and was the target of the famous ice bucket challenge back in the mid 2010s.

Other types MND include:

  • progressive muscular atrophy
  • progressive bulbar palsy
  • primary lateral sclerosis
  • Kennedy’s disease, also known as spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy

This year’s Big Freeze event comes a week after English rugby league player Rob Burrow died after years raising awareness and funds to fight the disease. Ex-NRL player Carl Webb also died late last year.

The national health advice, HealthDirect, has more information on early warning signs and symptoms.