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Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a chronic, autoimmune disorder of neuromuscular transmission, resulting in muscle weakness. The term "myasthenia" is Latin for muscle weakness, and "gravis" for grave or serious. Thomas Willis first described a patient with MG in 1672. There were other sporadic case descriptions over the years, and Campbell and Bramwell collected 60 cases of MG from the literature in 1900. Still, the cause of the disease remained a mystery until 1960, when Simpson proposed that myasthenia gravis was caused by antibodies against the acetylcholine receptor. In 1973, Patrick and Lindstrom demonstrated that MG is autoimmune in origin by showing that rabbits immunized with Torpedo acetylcholine receptor became myasthenic. Today, MG is one of the most thoroughly understood neurological disorders, which has lead to treatments that vastly improve the length and quality of life of myasthenics.