Myasthenia Gravis (MG)

Clinical Trials

About clinical trials

A clinical trial is a test in humans of an experimental medication or therapy. Clinical trials are experiments, not treatments, and participation requires careful consideration.

Although it's possible to benefit from participating in a clinical trial, it's also possible that no benefit — or even harm — may occur. Keep your MDA clinic doctor informed about any clinical trial participation. (Note that MDA has no ability to influence who is chosen to participate in a clinical trial.)


MDA’s commitment to research on myasthenia gravis began many years ago when little was known about the cause of MG and its mortality rate was high.

In the early 1970s, MDA-funded researchers helped establish the autoimmune nature of MG. They showed that people with the disease have a reduced number of ACh receptors, and that antibodies to the receptors can induce MG in laboratory animals.

These discoveries led swiftly to the lifesaving use of immunosuppressant drugs to treat the disease.

Medical Management

Many drugs and procedures are available for treating MG, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages. Drugs known as cholinesterase inhibitors provide relief from symptoms by blocking the action of acetylcholinesterase and increasing the amount of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction. (For a more detailed explanation of how these drugs work, see Causes/Inheritance.)


What causes myasthenia gravis (MG)?

The immune system in myasthenia gravis


Weakness and fatigue are common complaints in the general population, but the degree and pattern of these symptoms — particularly diplopia, ptosis and other signs of weakness in the eye muscles — should alert a neurologist to the possibility of myasthenia gravis (MG).

Signs and Symptoms

Myasthenia gravis (MG) weakens and fatigues the body’s voluntary muscles (those we can move at will). It doesn’t damage the musculature of the heart or the gastrointestinal tract.

Early in its course, MG tends to affect the muscles that control movement of the eyes and eyelids, causing ocular weakness. Consequently, a partial paralysis of eye movements (ophthalmoparesis), double vision (diplopia) and droopy eyelids (ptosis) are usually among the first symptoms of MG.


What is myasthenia gravis?

Muscles affected in myasthenia gravis

Myasthenia Gravis


MDA leads the search for treatments and therapies for myasthenia gravis (MG). The Association also provides comprehensive supports and expert clinical care for those living with MG.

In this section, you’ll find up-to-date information about myasthenia gravis, as well as many helpful resources. This information has been compiled with input from researchers, physicians and people affected by the disease.

Researchers Exploring Disability Perceptions

Researchers at the Psychology of Disability Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are exploring the social identity of people with disabilities through a short, anonymous, Web-based questionnaire.

The lab's Disability Identity Project is being headed by principal investigator Adena Rottenstein, a doctoral candidate in psychology.

The study closes the week of Aug. 22, 2011.

AAN Research Briefs on DM, DMD, LGMD, MG, MMD, SMA

Below are brief reports and links to more information about neuromuscular disease research presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), held in Honolulu April 9-16, 2011.