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Myasthenia Gravis

Wed Jul 19 18:36:33 EST 1995

Dear Marcio:

I am hoping to add a note of sanity to the discussion on this newsgroup. If you have
been reading this newsgroup for a while, then you know that Betty's primary 
objective is to point out the evils of Nutrasweet. I suspect that she would like to
blame all diseases on aspartame.

I think you deserve a more honest answer about Myasthenia Gravis.  Since you labeled
yourself a "layman," I am going to put my reply in very simple terms.

Voluntary movements are carried out by muscles which because of their striped
appearance are termed "striated."  When you wish to move a muscle, your central
nervous system sends a signal via the nerve innervating particular muscles. The 
nerves release a neurotransmitter called Acetylcholine (ACh).  The ACh is released
onto the muscle at special regions called the "end plate."  The ACh binds to a 
receptor hidden in folds of muscle at the end plate. Patients who have Myasthenia
Gravis make antibodies to the ACh receptor. (I suspect that there is still 
disagreement in the medical community as to what causes the patients' to produce 
autoantibodies.)  In any event, because the antibodies bind to the receptors, there
are less receptors available for the ACh to bind to. The ACh can't activate the
muscle unless it binds to the receptors, so there is general muscle weakness. 

One way that Myasthenia Gravis is often treated is to give patients drugs that 
inhibit the enzyme Acetylcholine Esterase. This enzyme normally breaks down ACh
that remains around the end plate. By lowering the amount of the enzyme, more ACh
stays around longer and thus has a better chance of binding.

Hope this helps explain the disease in general.  I'm not an expert. I'm a 3rd
year neurophysiology graduate student who studies visual cortex.

--Stacia Friedman-Hill
stacia @chaos.ucdavis.edu

Betty Martini <betty at noel.pd.org> wrote:
>Dear Marcio:  Myasthenia Gravis is often associated with the use of 
>NutraSweet and you can tell by taking the "no aspartame test". 

>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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