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Myasthenia Gravis

Betty Martini betty at noel.pd.org
Sat Jul 15 11:27:28 EST 1995


Dear Marcio:  Myasthenia Gravis is often associated with the use of 
NutraSweet and you can tell by taking the "no aspartame test".  I have a 
report about it titled:  MYASTHENIA GRAVIS ASSOCIATED WITH ASPARTAME USE 
by Dr. H. J. Roberts.  The report is very long and I won't quote the 
entire thing but I'll type in parts of it.  It was written in November, 1987.

Summary:  Myasthenia gravis (MG) developed in three patients who consumed 
moderate to large amounts f aspartame (ASP), a popular sweetener.  In 
addition to ptosis and marked muscle weakness, they evidence complaints 
encountered in other ASP reactors.

These criteria for such an association included (1) the onset of symptoms 
after using ASP, (2) a diagnostic response to intravenous edrophonium 
chloride (3) gratifying improvement of the ptosis and muscle weakness 
following ASP avoidance and pyridostigmine bromide therapy (with 
subsequent discontinuation of pyridostigmine in two), (4) the prompt 
improvement or disappearance of concomitant complaints when ASP was 
stopped, and (5) predictable exacerbations on ASP rechallenge.

Four persons who completed a nine page questionnaire as part of a 
nationwide survey of aspartame reactors also had been diagnosed as having 
MG or probable myasthenia.

The consumption of aspartame in patients presenting with MG since 1982 
(when ASP became available) and the incidence of MG since l982 require 
study since these unexpected observations, if confirmed, offer new 
insights concerning myasthenia.

The pathogenesis and rational treatment of myasthenia gravis (MG) are not 
fully understood.  A suspect association between the use of aspartame 
(ASP), a widely used sweetener and MG was unexpectedly encountered in 
three female patients.  All evidence other of the complaints more 
commonly experienced by ASP reactors.  Four additional patients with MG 
or probable MG also were found in a nationwide survey of ASP reactors.

OBSERVATIONS

Seven women who met the criteria for ASP reactors were diagnosed as 
having MG or probable MG.  They ranged in age from 31 to 82 years.

The three patients who were personally attended had diagnostic response 
to intravenous endrophonium chloride (Tensilon).  All experienced 
gratifying improvement after ASP was stopped and pyridostigmine bromide 
(Mestinon) prescribed.  Two subsequently were able to discontinue 
pyridostigmine.

The four persons who completed a nine-page questionnaire as part of a 
nationwide survey of aspartame reactors had evidenced ptosis in one or 
both eyes.  The muscle weakness in two almost precluded their rising out 
of bed without assistance.  The ptosis and severe muscle weakness in the 
other two had been ascribed to "aging."

The following features were present in all seven patients.
*Each had consumed moderate to large amounts of ASP as soft drinks, cola 
beverages, tabletop sweeteners and other products prior to the onset of 
myasthenic symptoms.
*All had multiple neurologic and systemic complaints comparable to those 
in the author's larger series.  The former included severe headache, 
dizziness, memory loss, confusion, intense insomnia, grand mal 
convulsions (80 cases), pathologic drowsiness, parethesias, slurred 
speech, atypical facial pain and marked tremors.  Most improved within 
several days or weeks after avoiding aspartame.
*These aspartame associated symptoms predictable recurred on ASP 
rechallenge known or inadvertent.
*The majority had seen at least one ophthalmologist for "trouble focusing 
the eyes", and were told that no intrinsic eye problem could be 
detected.  The patient cited in the case report came for medical 
clearance prior to anticipated plastic surgery for her ptosis.

REPRESENTATIVE CASE REPORT
AN ACTIVE 82 YEAR OLD WOMAN WITH INSULIN-DEPENDENT DIABETES HAD BEEN IN 
GOOD CLINICAL CONTROL FOR SEVERAL YEARS.  SHE PRESENTED WITH DROOPING OF 
THE RIGHT EYELID, WHICH SHE HAD TO ELEVATE MANUALLY - A FINDING NOT NOTED 
PREVIOUSLY.  AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST RECOMMENDED SURGERY TO "PULL UP THE 
SKIN."  OTHER RECENT SYMPTOMS INCLUDED SEVERE MEMORY LOSS, CONFUSION, 
DIZZINESS AND INSOMNIA.  CONCOMITANTLY, HER FASTING AND RANDOM BLOOD 
GLUCOSE CONCENTRATIONS BY HOME MONITORING ROSE IN SPITE OF CAREFUL 
ADHERENCE TO HER DIET AND APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENTS OF INSULIN.

The patient had been consuming considerable ASP recently.  Within one 
week after abstaining from such products, her complaints improved or 
disappeared except for the ptosis.  Her diabetes also came under prompt 
control.  There was a dramatic response to intravenous endophonium, and 
the ptosis improved on pyridostigmine therapy.  When she attempted to 
discontinue this drug two months later, it recurred..necessitating 
resumption of the medication.

DISCUSSION:
The ability of one physician to find seven documented or probable cases 
of MG among ASP reactors ought not be dismissed as coincidental or 
anecdotal.  The validity of this association is supported by the prompt 
regression of concomitant neurologic and systemic complaints after 
avoiding ASP, and their predictable recurrence following rechallenge.  
Accordingly, patients who complain of severe muscle weakness, ptosis and 
difficulty in focussing the eyes warrant a diagnostic trail of ASP avoidance.

The precipitation or aggravation of latent MG by ASP may be due to 
pathophysiologic changes induced by this chemical or its three components 
- phenylalanine (50%) aspartic acid (40%), and methanol (10% by weight).  
They might include effects on muscle or the neuromuscular junction, 
altered metabolism of major neurotransmitters, methanol-induced neuronal 
edema, and glucopenia within nerve and muscle tissue from amino 
acid-induced insulin release and the frequent concomitant decrease in 
caloric intake for attempted weight loss.

The public health implications for a chemical that is being consumed by 
more than 100 million persons in the United States with such neurologic, 
psychiatric and behavioral reactions are apparent.

If others confirm these observations, the influence of aspartame and its 
components on cholinergic transmission, as well as noncholinergic 
mechanisms and drug therapy, warrant intense study.  For example, in 
addition to enhancing cholinergic tone pyridostigmine also increases both 
basal and growth hormone-releasing hormone-induced growth hormone 
secretion.  Similarly, a therapeutic problem may be encountered owing to 
possible interference with the action of pyridostigmine and other drugs 
by aspartame.  This phenomenon has been encountered with phenytoin, 
coumarin and insulin (see Case Report) among aspartame reactors.

Correspondence:
H. J. Roberts, M.D.
300 27th Street
West Palm Beach, Florida 33407

References:
1.  Roberts, H.J.:  Is Aspartame (NutraSweet) Safe?  On Call (Bulletin of 
the Palm Beach County Medical Society)  January 1987, pp. 16-20.
2.  Roberts, H. J., Neurologic, psychiatric and behavioral reactions to 
aspartame in 505 aspartame reactors.  In Proceedings o the First 
International Conference on Dietary Phenylalanine and Brain Function, 
Washington, D. C. May 8-10, 1987, pp.477-481.
3. Glugo, E. Mazza, E. Imperiale, E., et al: Enhancement of cholinergic 
tone by pyridostigmine promotes both basal and growth hormone 
(GH)-releasing hormone-induced GH secretion in children of short stature, 
J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 65:452-456, l987.

As it turns out I went ahead and typed the whole report, the reason being 
this is very important at this time.  When this was done in 1987 
NutraSweet was only in about 600 products but now its in 5000 and 
climbing and the patent has expired.  Also, people are getting it in 
items where it is unlabeled like drugs, baked products in restaurants and 
grocers and over the counter drugs.  It's even in children's chewable 
Tylenol and children's vitamins which is plain disgusting since aspartame 
is a chemical poison.

Several people on aspartame have complained of myasthenia gravis and have 
asked for information.  Please send us your case history if this problem 
disappears so it will help warn others.  Send it to MISSION POSSIBLE, P. 
O. BOX 28098, Atlanta, Georgia 30358.

I'm going to email you the instructions to get information on aspartame 
from the auto-responder.  We also have it on web server too.  However, we 
are just beginning to add the reports and soon scientific studies and 
more case histories and articles will be accessible by this means.  

If on NutraSweet then you probably have other neurological symptoms.  
There are 92 documented symptoms and many endocrine and neurological 
diseases being triggered by this neurotoxin that also produced cancer in 
lab animals.  The late Dr. Adrian Gross, FDA toxicologist, warned 
congress that aspartame violated the Delaney Amendment that says you 
can't put something on the market that causes cancer.  His last words 
will ever be remembered:  "If the FDA violates its own laws who is left 
to protect the people?"  We have no protector.  They do not want to do 
anything about this violation - they want to repeal the Delaney Amendment.
That way it won't be illegal to put these cancer causing chemicals in our 
food.  We have serious, serious problems with the eyes because the 
methanol in aspartame converts to formaldehyde in the retina of the eye.
This is why there are so many people going blind, and we have the case 
histories.  Some of it is reversing when people get off of aspartame in time.

The FDA tells you that there is more methanol in oranges but what they 
don't tell you is that in oranges methanol is accompanied by ethanol, the 
classic antidote.  Ethanol inhibits metabolism of methanol and allows the 
body time for clearance of the toxin through the lungs and kidneys. 
ASPARTAME: METHANOL AND THE PUBLIC HEALTH by Dr. Woodrow Monte (Journal 
of Applied Nutrition, Volume 36, Number 1, 1984).  This is a smokescreen 
by the FDA and the NutraSweet Co. (Monsanto) and they know better.

It is particularly abhorrent that the American Diabetic Assn and the 
American Dietetic Assn. both recommend aspartame because of Monsanto funding.
Diabetics are going blind from it and doctors think its diabetic 
retinopathy. They are having lazer surgery, retinal detachments and 
horrible vision problems because of aspartame.  Please be warned and warn 
others.  When you access the auto-responder please print out particular 
our warning flyer and copy for everyone you know and meet to save them 
from this poison.  


Betty Martini
Domain:  betty at pd.org
UUCP:  ...!emory!pd.org!betty

On 10 Jul 1995, Marcio Pelegrino Costa wrote:

> 
> Hello!
> 
> About 6 months ago, my father discovered he was with Myasthenia 
> Gravis. He is 41 years old. I am a computation student and a complete 
> layman about this disease. I whould be very grateful if someone sends 
> to me the myasthenia's cause and consequence or anything that can 
> inform to me about that. Thanks for all.
> 
> My e-mails :
> 
> marciopc at araketu.dcc.ufba.br
> marciopc at olodum.dcc.ufba.br
> 
> 
> 



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