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The COMMEND project will adapt a psychological therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT, pronounced like the word “act”) for people with motor neuron disease (MND) and assess whether, along with usual multidisciplinary clinical care, it improves their psychological health in comparison to usual care alone.

Motor neuron disease is a rapidly progressive, fatal neurological disease with no known cure. It affects parts of the brain and spinal cord, and results in loss of the ability to move, speak, swallow and breathe. Many people with MND experience distress due to the disease's nature, impact and outlook.

ACT is a form of psychological therapy that helps people to learn new ways of handling distressing thoughts and feelings. It also helps people to develop ways of taking part in activities that are important and meaningful to them.

There are two phases to the project. In the first phase the team will develop ACT for people with MND through a series of workshops and interviews with people with MND, their caregivers and healthcare professionals who work with them. The team will then invite 28 people with MND to test the acceptability and feasibility of our newly developed intervention in an uncontrolled feasibility study. In the second phase we will carry out a larger study with approximately 188 people with MND to examine how effective ACT is at improving psychological health in people with MND. In this larger study, called a randomised controlled trial, participants will be chosen at random by a computer to receive either ACT plus their usual care or their usual care alone.

The Royal Preston Hospital is a study centre, with Professor Chhetri as local PI.