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Degenerative Nerve Diseases Also called: Neurodegenerative diseases Degenerative nerve diseases affect many of your body's activities, such as balance, movement, talking, breathing, and heart function. Many of these diseases are genetic. Sometimes the cause is a medical condition such as alcoholism, a tumor, or a stroke. Other causes may include toxins, chemicals, and viruses. Sometimes the cause is not known.
The term "degenerative diseases" has been loosely applied to numerous severe health problems, but the primary medical use of this designation is for describing progressive diseases of the central nervous system-the brain and spinal cord. In the central nervous system (CNS), under ordinary circumstances,
the nerve cells do not regenerate. These CNS neurons differ from most of the other cells of the body that break down and are then replaced. The central nerves also differ from peripheral nerves which, under usual circumstances, are able to regenerate when injured.