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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes myasthenia gravis?

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    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Myastenia gravis is an auto-immune disease. What that means is that the immune system, which normally detects foreign (“non-self”) pathogens like bacteria, viruses, etc and gets rid of them, sometimes “makes a mistake” by “thinking” that normal (“self”) body cells are foreign and attacks them.

    In the specific context of myastenia gravis, antibodies attack a normal body protein called the acetyl choline receptor. The job of this protein is to send a message from a nerve to a muscle, telling the muscle to contract. The antibodies prevent this, leading to the muscle weakness associated with myastenia gravis.

    This site has more technical detail and also provides links to support forums: http://www.myasthenia.org.au/default.htm .

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