Myasthenia Gravis (MG)

Vauta Tenney

Location

Shreveport, LA

Vauta began painting more than 20 years ago. She also made baskets, cutting boards and carved wooden dolls. This piece was her first donation to the MDA Art Collection.

Full name: 
Vauta Tenney
Artist: 
Vauta Tenney
Disease: 
Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
Medium: 
Oil

Joann Hornback

Location

Elizabethtown, KY

Joann has been painting for many years. She attended Stanford University and is a charter member of the Kentucky Very Special Arts Association.

Full name: 
Joann Hornback
Artist: 
Joann Hornback
Disease: 
Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
Medium: 
Oil

Lynette Battles

Location

Rathdrum, ID

A recognized artist, Lynette studied in San Francisco and at the Joslyn Center for the Arts in Torrance, Calif. Many of her works focus on depicting the American prairie. Her award-winning work has appeared in numerous juried shows, including the Portland (Oregon) Art Museum; Boise State University; Corbin Art Center (Spokane, Wash.) and the Gallery Genesis, Chicago.

Full name: 
Lynette Battles
Artist: 
Lynette Battles
Disease: 
Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
Medium: 
Oil

Sybil Kleiman

Location

Coconut Creek, FL

Sybil is a freelance art history lecturer and art instructor as well as an artist. She has received numerous awards in juried shows, and her paintings are included in several private collections. Sybil was honored in Who’s Who in American Women in 1995-1996 and was named recipient of MDA’s 1996 State Personal Achievement Award for Florida.

Full name: 
Sybil Kleiman
Artist: 
Sybil Kleiman
Disease: 
Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
Medium: 
Oil

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.)

Research

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.)

Causes/Inheritance

What causes myasthenia gravis (MG)?

The immune system in myasthenia gravis

Diagnosis

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.

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