Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disorder characterized by weakening and tiring of the muscles that are used for the movement of the body. It affects any muscle fiber or multiple muscle groups. It affects women more than men. In women, the disorder happens in the age of 20-40 years. In men, it occurs in the age of 50 -70 years. It is caused due to impairment of communication between muscles and nerve cells. Its symptoms include trouble in talking, walking, breathing, swallowing, drooping of eyelids with double vision and many more. Its symptoms get worse with activity and are relieved with rest.

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Can Myasthenia Gravis Cause Memory Loss?

Can Myasthenia Gravis Cause Memory Loss?

Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder that interrupts the flow of information between nerves and muscles. Its antibodies affect the peripheral nervous system. But they cannot enter the brain by crossing brain barriers. Thus, it cannot cause memory loss directly. But prolonged suffering from this disorder may induce anxiety and depression in old people resulting in memory loss. (2)

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Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by weakness in the skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle is responsible for the movement of the extremities such as arms, hands, legs, etc. This disorder can also affect the muscles that are involved in breathing. The main characteristic feature of this disorder is that its symptoms get worse after any physical activity and improves after rest. It also involves muscles of the eye, tongue, face, neck, and limbs.

Myasthenia gravis primarily affect any skeletal muscle, muscles of eyes, and face. It appears suddenly and often not recognizable. Initially, it causes weakness in the eye muscles. It results in drooping of one or both eyelids and blurred vision due to the prolonged weakness of muscles that control eye movements.

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This disorder then affects facial muscles that are involved in the facial expression and swallowing. It leads to changes in facial expression, difficulties in swallowing and impaired speech. It may involve muscles of the chest that causes difficulties in breathing.

Myasthenia gravis involves the voluntary muscles of the body that is under the control of our body. These muscles control the movement of various body parts such as arms, fingers, hands, legs, and neck. Thus, the muscles are not able to contract completely. It affects the normal physical activities resulting in disabilities. However, these symptoms are not found in every patient of this disorder. The weakness appeared in the muscles also alter every day. Its severity increases if it is not treated in time. However, its symptoms reduce after rest and get increased with an increase in physical activities.

Myasthenia gravis is caused by impairment of transfer of impulses from nerve fibers to muscles. The nerve impulses travel to muscles through a neurotransmitter named acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter moves from the nerve fibers to the receptors of muscles carrying information to contract. These receptors in the muscles are damaged by antibodies produced during autoimmune reactions. The overactive immune system attack acetylcholine receptors in the muscles impacting the flow of nerve impulses to muscles. It is also found that tumors developed in the thymus gland may also accelerate the activity of the immune system. It impacts the flow of information from nerves to muscles. (1)

The antibodies that are formed in myasthenia gravis disturb the transmission of information from peripheral nerves to the skeletal muscles. These antibodies cannot affect the nerve fibers in the brain as they are incapable to cross the blood-brain barrier. Thus, they cannot access the acetylcholine receptors in the brain. Their action is limited to the peripheral nervous system and thus cannot cause memory loss directly.

Memory loss happens in myasthenia gravis due to secondary changes happening in the brain. This happens as a result of mood fluctuations, depression, and anxiety caused by this disorder. In a study done by eHealthMe, memory loss is noted in the people with Myasthenia gravis who are above 60 years and who have insomnia receiving medicine Mestinon. (2)

References:

  1. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Myasthenia-Gravis-Fact-Sheet
  2. https://www.ehealthme.com/cs/myasthenia-gravis/memory-loss/

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: May 8, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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