The Red Flag tool for diagnosing Motor Neurone Disease

11 December 2013

Jennifer Bedford of the Motor Neurone Disease Association announces their new tool, Red Flag, for supporting GPs to diagnose Motor Neurone Disease. mndaLogo

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a devastating progressive degenerative disease of the motor neurones. Whilst it is rare, with a prevalence of 5-7 per 100,000, GPs can expect to see 1-2 cases in their career; and thus  important that awareness of it is raised.

Current data suggests that there is an average of a 15 to 18 month delay between presentation and diagnosis. It is also concerning that approximately half of all patients with MND will be referred to a non-neurology speciality in the first instance, for example, (ENT or orthopaedics).

Early diagnosis is important. Whilst MND remains an incurable disease there is evidence that survival can be extended by several months through good respiratory management, including non-invasive ventilation, and a drug called riluzole.  In addition patients report that uncertainty  is much more harrowing than coping with the devastating diagnosis of MND.

To tackle some of these issues, the MND Association has been working in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners to create a simple ‘aide memoir’ to help prompt GPs to consider MND as a possible diagnosis.  A dedicated steering group of neurologists, MND nurse co-ordinators, palliative care consultants and GPs a Red Flags tool has been developed. A copy of this tool can be found here.

Support and help for practitioners, and people living with MND and their carers is available from the MND Association, please visit the website for more information.

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