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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 in 1900, Campbell and Bramwell collected 60 cases of MG from the literature. 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 which vastly improve the length and quality of life of myasthenics.