Monday, December 15, 2014

Coexisting Autoimmune disease in myasthenia gravis patients

Newswise — Myasthenia gravis is a disorder that is often evidenced by abnormal functioning, mainly weakness, of the skeletal muscles. Two studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) demonstrate that there is a significant proportion of myasthenia patients with arrhythmias and co-morbid inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

During the meeting, Rachana Gandhi, MD presented an interesting
study where it was found that 16 out of 100 patients diagnosed with myasthenia gravis were also found to have arrhythmias. Further, eleven had atrial flutter/fibrillation and five of the group had sick sinus syndrome. In an interesting observation, those that underwent a thymectomy were less likely to have arrhythmias.

Another research study, this one from The Universidade Federal do Ceara in Brazil, evaluated the presence of autoimmune IBD in patients with myasthenia gravis. While it is true that the likelihood of two autoimmune diseases existing in one patient can be estimated to be 0.2%, in the population with myasthenia gravis, surprisingly 0.9% also had IBD.

The two studies are suggestive that the pathology of myasthenia gravis is more extensive than only the acetylcholine receptors (AChR) of the skeletal muscle neuromuscular junction. The AANEM 61st Annual Meeting was held October 29 through November 1, 2014, in Savannah, GA. It is the premier meeting focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular diseases and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine.

View other research from the meeting at Follow AANEM on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for meeting updates. Visit for more information about the association.

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