Doing a bit of research on motor neuron diseases. Looking for one specific bit of information:

I've seen diseases affecting cranial nerves, such as the palsies that affect the muscles in the facial region. I've also seen diseases affecting various parts of the CNS, such as ALS. However does a disease exist whereby the entire body is affected, essentially rendering the patient completely paralysed while still retaining consciousness and awareness?

  • Doesn't ALS suffice? Stephen Hawking is a popular example of an almost total paralysation. Or are you looking for a disease that also affects the ANS? I'm afraid one would die pretty soon, because both heart and lungs would stop functioning.
    – Narusan
    Mar 14, 2018 at 14:15
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    Welcome to Health, user13195! Please take the tour and read the help center. What has your research shown you so far? Where have you already searched? Please help us to help you and document a bit more of your prior research. You may improve your question to comply with site guidelines with an edit and the help of How to Ask. Thanks! Mar 14, 2018 at 14:31
  • Though not a disease per se, locked in syndrome fits the bill.
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 14, 2018 at 14:59
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    The late Stephen Hawking. Mar 14, 2018 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


Paralytic polio

About 1 percent of polio cases can develop into paralytic polio. Paralytic polio leads to paralysis in the spinal cord (spinal polio),brainstem (bulbar polio), or both (bulbospinal polio).


Those infected that developed diaphragmatic paralysis were put into iron lungs

iron lung


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