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Serena Williams mentions MND in victory speech

Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, the ailment has no effective treatment currently

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

Serena Williams who won the Australian Open on Saturday, included a mention of MND in her victory speech and efforts to raise money to help those afflicted by the condition.

If you want to know more about MND, a link to the Cure for MND Foundation on Serena’s Facebook page, has some answers.

“Motor Neurone Disease (MND) or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurones) controlling the muscles that enable us to move around, speak, swallow and breathe fail to work normally and eventually die. With no nerves to activate them the muscles gradually weaken and waste,” it said.

Perhaps among the most famous sportspersons who suffered from the disease is American Baseball player Lou Gehrig. MND is also known in American as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Gehrig was a baseball player who played for the New York Yankees in the 1920s and 1930s. He was called ‘The Iron Horse’. He was eventually was diagnosed with MND and retired, according to his Wikipedia page. He died two years later at the age of 37.

“With no residual muscles or strength, MND patients are left motionless,mute, and trapped within their once active bodies. In the majority, the mind and intellect are left intact, with the sufferer bearing witness to it all,” according to the foundation’s website.

It adds that the rates of progression are different for different people. While some live a long time, do not. The average life expectancy from the point of time of diagnosis is two to five years. There is no effective treatment currently available for the disease.

Australian cricketer Shane Watson too is helping raise money to help cure the disease.

First Published: Sat, January 31 2015. 17:09 IST