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Common Terms

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  • Agrin: protein compound integral in the development of the neuromuscular junction
  • Acetylcholine: a compound that occurs throughout the nervous system, functioning as a neurotransmitter
  • Acetylcholine receptors (AChR): an integral membrane protein that responds to the binding of acetylcholine
  • Autoimmune: the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the body’s own cells and tissues
  • Congenital myasthenic syndromes (CMS): term used for a group of uncommon, hereditary disorders of the neuromuscular junction, different from the more common autoimmune myasthenia gravis
  • Corticosteroid: medication that suppresses the body’s production of antibodies
  • Diplopia: double vision
  • Dysphonia: voice disorder
  • Dysarthria: slurred speech
  • Dysphagia: difficulty swallowing
  • Edrophonium: a drug that prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine, allowing the clinician to understand your muscle response and whether the results are consistent with an MG diagnosis
  • Electromyography (EMG):  Repetitive nerve stimulations (RNS) applying electrical shocks are often used to gauge muscle response and action potential and whether results are consistent with an MG diagnosis
  • Exacerbation: also known as flare-up, symptoms increase in frequency and/ or become more severe
  • Immunosuppressant: medication that suppresses the body’s production of antibodies
  • Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS): an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues at the neuromuscular junction, interfering with the ability of nerve cells to send signals to muscle cells
  • MuSK: stands for Muscle-Specific Kinase, a protein
  • MuSK receptor: a protein receptor required for the formation and maintenance of the neuromuscular junction
  • Myasthenic Crisis: complication of MG characterized by worsening of muscle weakness resulting in respiratory failure
  • Neuromuscular junction: site of communication between motor nerves and muscle fibers that facilitates voluntary movement
  • Plasmapheresis: see Therapeutic Plasma Exchange
  • Ptosis: drooping eyelids
  • Refractory: people with MG who do not respond to conventional treatment
  • Remission: symptoms disappear completely for some time even without treatment
  • Seronegative myasthenia gravis: is a form of MG where autoantibodies (anti-AChR and anti-MuSK autoantibodies) are not detectable in the blood
  • Single-fiber electromyography (SFEMG): Detects neuromuscular transmission defects by recording action potentials from individual muscle fibers using a small needle electrode
  • Subcutaneous: under the skin
  • Therapeutic Plasma Exchange (Plasmapheresis): also known as plasma exchange or PLEX, this is a filtration procedure whereby abnormal antibodies are removed from blood plasma
  • Thymectomy: surgical removal of the thymus gland

A World Without MG