Alzheimer's disease is a physical disease affecting the brain. During the course of the disease, 'plaques' and 'tangles' develop in the structure of the brain, leading to the death of brain cells.


Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged leading to more severe symptoms.


Also known as Dysphasia Aphasia is an acquired disorder of language, usually caused by stroke, head injury or other neurological condition. People with aphasia find it difficult to understand, speak, read or write language; compared with those with autism, and do not usually have the accompanying learning difficulties associated with autism.


People with Ataxia have problems with co-ordination and balance. Cerebellar Ataxias are a group of rare neurological disorders, many of which are inherited. There is large variation in the severity of the different types, and the rate of progression varies between individuals.


Ataxia-telangiectasia is a rare, childhood neurological disorder that causes degeneration in the part of the brain that controls motor movements and speech. Its most unusual symptom is an acute sensitivity to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays or gamma-rays.


The first signs of the disease, which include delayed development of motor skills, poor balance, and slurred speech, usually occur during the first decade of life.


Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a disorder of movement and posture. It is due to damage to, or failure in, the areas of the brain which control movement. The effects vary from individual to individual; difficulties include awkwardness in walking, or of hand and arm movements, or speech

Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease

A condition which affects the peripheral nerves (in the arms and legs) and leads to progressive muscle weakness. Both the sensory nerves, which send messages back to the brain about touch and feel, and motor nerves, controlling movement, are affected.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

M.E. is a potentially chronic and disabling neurological disorder, which is characterised by persistent fatigue and muscle pain. Symptoms can include cognitive problems such as loss of memory and concentration, recurrent sore throat and enlarged neck glands, disturbed sleep patterns and persistent headaches.

Creutzfeldt - Jakob Disease

CJD is a rare, untreatable, fatal illness affecting the brain. It is one type of the group of transmissible spongifrom encephalopathies (TSEs). CJD is divided into four different forms, which all have different causes and symptoms, but they all have the same basic disease process of the accumulation of abnormal prion protein in the brain tissue.



Dementia is a term used to describe various different brain disorders, that have in common a loss of brain function that is usually progressive and eventually severe. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease.
Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech

Down's Syndrome

Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition related to chromosome 21. It affects 1 in 800 to 1 in 1000 live born infants. People who have Down syndrome have learning difficulties, mental retardation, a characteristic facial appearance, and poor muscle tone (hypotonia) in infancy.


Familial dysautonomia, also known as Riley Day Syndrome, is a genetic disorder that affects the development and survival of certain nerve cells. The disorder disturbs cells in the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary actions such as digestion, breathing, production of tears, and the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature. It also affects the sensory nervous system, which controls activities related to the senses, such as taste and the perception of pain, heat, and cold.


Familial dysautonomia, also known as Riley Day Syndrome, is a genetic disorder that affects the development and survival of certain nerve cells. The disorder disturbs cells in the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary actions such as digestion, breathing, production of tears, and the regulation of blood pressure and body temperature. It also affects the sensory nervous system, which controls activities related to the senses, such as taste and the perception of pain, heat, and cold.



Epilepsy is the tendency to have recurrent seizures, which tend to recur spontaneously. These seizures occur when there is an electrical disturbance in the brain, and the signals it sends to the body become mixed up, rather like an electrical storm in the brain.



Fibromyalgia means "pain coming from the muscles and fibrous tissues" (such as tendons and ligaments), and the condition is characterised by muscle aches and pains. Other symptoms often include fatigue, sleep disturbance and headache.


Guillan-Barre Syndrome

GBS is an inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves - those outside the brain and spinal cord. It is characterised by the rapid onset of muscle weakness and loss of sensation, and in serious cases can lead to paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles and face. Recovery usually begins within 2-3 weeks, and only a minority of cases have long-lasting problems.


Head and Brain Injury

An injury to the head or face, resulting in trauma to the brain. The brain injury may be mild to severe, and the subsequent impact can likewise be from mild, short-term problems to permanent problems including emotional and behavioural changes, cognitive effects and physical disability.

Huntington's Disease

HD is a progressive, hereditary neurological disorder which used to be known as Huntington's Chorea. Symptoms are wide ranging and usually begin in middle adulthood, but can occur at any age and  is caused by a faulty gene on chromosome which leads to damage of nerve cells in specific areas of the brain.



Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, can be caused by infection with a bacterium or virus There are two main types of meningitis:

* Viral meningitis tends to appear in summer months and is generally much less severe. Most people recover fully. Initially, vague flu-like symptoms occur with fever and muscle aches.

* Bacterial meningitis tends to be more severe, with a serious risk of complications and death. Any type of bacteria can cause it, but in the UK the most common types are meningococcal and pneumococcal bacteria.


A migraine is a severe headache that usually affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by other distressing symptoms. There are two types:  Migraine with aura (classical) - the headache is preceded by a preliminary phase called an aura, when symptoms such as seeing flashing lights, temporary visual loss, speech problems or numbness of the face or arms may occur  Migraine without aura (common) - no aura precedes the headache

Motor Neurone Disease

MND is a rapidly progressive, fatal disease. The cause of MND is unknown and there is no known cure  It is most common after the age of 50. More men than women have the condition (3:2)
50% of all people die within 14 months of diagnosis. It is characterised by progressive muscle weakness which may leave a person unable to walk, use their arms, or talk, whilst their intellect frequently remains intact.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. Women are almost twice as likely as men to develop MS. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 to 40.  For some people, MS is characterised by periods of relapse and remission while for others it has a progressive pattern. For everyone, it makes life unpredictable.

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophies and related conditions are genetic conditions affecting the muscles. Some Spinal Muscular Atrophies and Hereditary Motor and Sensory Neuropathies affect the nerves and in turn affect muscle strength.  There are more than twenty types of Muscular Dystrophy and they cause progressive muscle weakness because muscle cells break down and are gradually lost.

Myasthenia Gravis

The name myasthenia gravis (MG) comes from Latin and Greek and means 'grave muscle weakness'.  For our muscles to work, electrical signals are sent from the brain to the nerve ending. When these signals reach the nerve ends they trigger the release of a neurotransmitter chemical called acetylcholine, which acts on receptor cells on the muscle causing it to contract.
A different chemical then breaks down the acetylcholine so the muscle relaxes again.



Narcolepsy is a neurological condition affecting the area of the brain that controls waking and sleeping. The word comes from the Greek and means 'seized by sleepiness'.  The main symptom is falling asleep suddenly. About four out of five people with narcolepsy also experience cataplexy, a sudden loss of muscular tone and control which is usually triggered by emotion, for example laughter. It may cause the jaw to drop and the head to slump, or the legs to collapse. These attacks can last for seconds or many minutes and can occur many times a day.


NF is a neurocutaneous disorder meaning that it affects the skin and the nervous system (including the brain). Soft, non-cancerous tumours (neurofibromas) develop on the skin and along nerve tissue throughout the body. However, virtually every system and organ in the body may be affected. .


Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's is a degenerative disease of the brain that affects the nerve cells involved in movement. The most typical features of Parkinson’s disease are:
A tremor or fine shake while the person is at rest.  Rigidity or increased tone in the body’s muscles.  Slowness of all movements (known as bradykinesia)
Unsteady balance (known as postural instability).  Beginning an activity may be difficult as the person affected is rigid and slow to get going. But once started people with Parkinson's speed up and move too fast, ending up almost running or out of control.


Poliomyelitis is highly infectious and affects the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis. It's transmitted through contaminated food, drinking water, faeces and swimming pool water.
In most cases (90%), polio may cause no symptoms and no sequalae.

Progressive Supranulclear Palsy

PSP is a degenerative disease affecting the brain.  Although in its early stages, PSP can mimic Parkinson's disease, it's less common, and has its own distinct diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Progressive means it starts slowly and continues to get worse, supranuclear refers to the affected part of the brain - pea-sized structures known as nuclei - and palsy describes the outcome - paralysis.  It can cause permanent and serious problems with a patient's vision and ability to move.


Rett Syndrome

Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmenal disorder that affects girls almost exclusively. It is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability.


Spina Bifida

Spina bifida, which literally means “cleft spine,” is characterized by the incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord, and/or meninges (the protective covering around the brain and spinal cord). There are four types of spina bifida:


Stroke is the largest cause of severe disability.  It affects people of all ages including children. Stroke is a ‘brain attack' that occurs ‘in a stroke' giving a sudden onset of symptoms.  About one third of people who have a stroke will die, one third will make an almost complete recovery and one third will be left with a disability.


Tourette Syndrome

Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterised by tics - involuntary, rapid, sudden movements that occur repeatedly.  A facial tic, such as mouth twitching or rapid eye blinking, is the most common first symptom. Other common early symptoms include involuntary limb tics or involuntary throat clearing or sniffing. There's no single pattern of symptoms. Some people have very mild symptoms, while others are severely affected.

Tuberous Sclerosis

Tuberous sclerosis (TSC) is a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs, and skin. It commonly affects the central nervous system. In addition to the benign tumors that frequently occur in TSC, other common symptoms include seizures, mental retardation, behavior problems, and skin abnormalities. TSC may be present at birth, but signs of the disorder can be subtle and full symptoms may take some time to develop.