Using big data to understand the health status and service use of people with motor neurone disease

| 27 Jul 2020

A recent study at 3DN, UNSW Sydney with support from MND Research Australia looked at the health needs and service use of people with motor neurone disease (MND) in NSW. A series of resources outlining the results and how this information can help people living with MND are now available at There are resources for individuals with MND, families and carers, and health professionals. Few studies look at the health service usage of people with MND, and this was the first to examine mental health service usage using a large de-identified dataset with information from health records. We found the most common reasons people with MND went to hospital included problems with the brain, spinal cord and nerves, injury and poisoning, and breathing problems. People with MND used mental health services more often than the general population, but less often than people with other neurological disorders. The most common mental health concerns for people with MND in hospital were conditions caused by changes in the brain (e.g. dementia), and mood and anxiety disorders. These findings can help to plan and manage individuals’ health care, and develop more effective health services.