A Twitch of Potential

If medical science had a trophy cabinet, the shelf for achievement in motor neurone disease would be almost bare. Lack of time hasn't been the problem. It was in 1869 that a French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, suggested grouping several conditions under one name - what we now call MND. Then things went quiet for 120 years. "Traditionally, it was a case of doctors saying to patients, in effect: 'You've got motor neurone disease - go home and write your will,'" says Sydney neurologist Matthew Kiernan. "The specialist didn't like looking after these patients because he knew he had nothing to offer...

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