Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America – Donate (NJ Chapter Golf Benefit 8/12) – New Jersey Myasthenia Gravis Specialists
Myasthenia Gravis (pronounced My-as-theen-ee-a Grav-us) comes from the Greek and Latin words meaning “grave muscular weakness.” The most common form of MG is a chronic autoimmune disorder that is characterized by fluctuating weakness of the voluntary muscle groups.
The voluntary muscles of the entire body are controlled by nerve impulses that arise in the brain. These nerve impulses travel down the nerves to the place where the nerves meet the muscle fibers. Nerve fibers do not actually connect with muscle fibers. There is a space between the nerve ending and muscle fiber; this space is called the neuromuscular junction.
When the nerve impulse originating in the brain arrives at the nerve ending, it releases a chemical called acetylcholine, which travels across the space to the muscle fiber side of the neuromuscular junction where it attaches to many receptor sites. The muscle contracts when enough of the receptor sites have been activated by the acetylcholine.
In Myasthenia Gravis, there can be as much as an 80% reduction in the number of neuromuscular receptor sites.
For reasons not well understood, the immune system of the person with MG makes antibodies against the receptor sites of the neuromuscular junction.
Antibodies are proteins that are normally directed at foreign proteins such as bacteria and viruses. Abnormal antibodies can be measured in the blood of many people with MG. The antibodies destroy the receptor sites more rapidly than the body can replace them.
Myasthenia Gravis occurs in all races, both genders, and at any age. MG is not thought to be directly inherited nor is it contagious. It does occasionally occur in more than one member of the same family.
New Jersey Myasthenia Gravis Chapter
PO Box 4258
Wayne, NJ 07474
Phone: (973) 835-4444
Toll Free Phone: (800) 437-4949
Fax: (973) 835-4452
Email: mgnj @ mgnj.org