Dr Xiaochui (Helen) Chen | University of Manchester; Professor Anne-Marie Glenny; Dr Lucy O’Malley; Professor Andrea Malaspina
Competition Sponsor: United Kingdom Research and Innovation
Awardee Year: 2023
Motor neurone disease (MND) is a rare life-shortening disease that affects motor neurones in the brain and spinal cord which control muscle movement. It affects adults especially those aged 55-79 years but not children. As messages from the brain gradually stop reaching muscles, MND patients cannot move properly, muscles become weak and get smaller causing difficulties in day-to-day life including moving hands and arms, walking, talking, eating, drinking and breathing etc which worsen rapidly.
Currently, there is no cure for MND and the multi-disciplinary healthcare team focuses on maintaining the best quality of life and mental health. Oral health is closely related to general health and quality of life through affecting oral functions and social interactions. With complex muscle weakening, oral health care is challenging for MND patients, carers and dental professionals but there is no clear pathway or toolkit.
This project aims to develop an MND oral health care pathway and toolkit providing 1) resources for MND patients, carers and dental professionals to better understand the challenges associated with MND, 2) guidance supporting self-care and carers to maintain good oral health for MND patients, 3) pathway to access dental care with a self-referral process for specialist dental service. The MND oral health care pathway and toolkit developed will provide comprehensive solutions that are not currently available. They will influence policy and practices, and are beneficial for the MND community not only in the UK but also worldwide, promoting better oral health and quality of life for MND patients.