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Patient support groups also offer information about clinical trials.

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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 produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that relays motor commands 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.

Prognosis

The disease tends to advance rapidly over the course of 9 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. In 2007, the NINDS sponsored a consensus conference that brought together experts from around the world to review and update the diagnostic criteria for MSA. These new diagnostic guidelines are helping doctors make quicker and more accurate diagnoses of MSA. A great deal of research is ongoing to learn why synuclein buildup occurs in MSA and Parkinson’s disease, and how to prevent it.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Organizations

Dysautonomia Foundation

Non-profit organization that supports medical research grants and clinical care; provides information; and offers chapters nationwide and overseas.

315 W. 39th Street
Suite 701
New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212-279-1066
Fax: 212-279-2066

Familial Dysautonomia Hope Foundation, Inc. (FD Hope)

Non-profit organization that works to expand and accelerate research towards a cure for familial dysautonomia and to improve the lives of children and adults challenged by the disease. Funds research programs, provides a support network for patients and families, and promotes education and awareness in the medical community and public.

121 South Estes Drive
Suite 205-D
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-2868
Tel: 919-969-1414

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.

8311 Brier Creek Parkway
Suite 105-434
Raleigh, NC 27617
Tel: 1-866-737-5999

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: 651-267-0525
Fax: 651-267-0524

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