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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

Neurology Now

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Multiple System Atrophy

Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by symptoms of autonomic nervous system failure such as fainting spells and bladder control problems, combined with motor control symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, and loss of muscle coordination. MSA affects both men and women primarily in their 50s.  Although what causes MSA is unknown, the disorder's symptoms reflect the loss of nerve cells in several different areas in the brain and spinal cord that control the autonomic nervous system and coordinate muscle movements.  The loss of nerve cells may be due to the buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the cells that support nerve cells in the brain.

Treatment

There is no cure for MSA. Currently, there are no treatments to delay the progress of neurodegeneration in the brain. But there are treatments available to help people cope with some of the more disabling symptoms of MSA. In some individuals, levodopa may improve motor function, but the benefit may not continue as the disease progresses.

Prognosis

The disease tends to advance rapidly over the course of 5 to 10 years, with progressive loss of motor skills, eventual confinement to bed, and death. There is no remission from the disease. There is currently no cure.

Research

The NINDS supports research about MSA through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Researchers hope to learn why alpha-synuclein buildup occurs in MSA and Parkinson’s disease, and how to prevent it. Drugs that reduce the abnormal alpha-synuclein buildup may be promising treatments for MSA

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Organizations

Cure PSP

30 E. Padonia Road
Suite 201
Timonium, MD 21093
Tel: 800-457-4777; 410-785-7004
Fax: 410-785-7009

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

National Institutes of Health, DHHS
8600 Rockville Pike, Bldg. 38, Rm. 2S10
Bethesda, MD 20894
Tel: 301-496-6308 888-346-3656

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

Federation of voluntary health organizations dedicated to helping people with rare "orphan" diseases and assisting the organizations that serve them. Committed to the identification, treatment, and cure of rare disorders through programs of education, advocacy, research, and service.

55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition

National support group that collects and disseminates information and promotes education and support for people affected by Shy-Drager Syndrome or multiple system atrophy.

9935-D Rea Road
Charlotte, NC 28227
Tel: 800-737-5999

National Dysautonomia Research Foundation

Non-profit foundation established to help those afflicted with any of the various forms of dysautonomia. Provides a support network for affected individuals and family members by providing information on the various forms of dysautonomia, as well as providing contacts to other organizations that may be of assistance.

P.O. Box 301
Red Wing, MN 55066-0301
Tel: 651-327-0367
Fax: 651-267-0524

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