Multiple system atrophy
Other Names for this Disease
- Multisystem atrophy
- Proximal spinal muscular atrophy
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.
 The cause of multiple system atrophy is unknown, although environmental toxins, trauma, and genetic factors have been suggested. There is no cure for this condition, and there is no known way to prevent the disease from getting worse. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.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. 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.
Last updated: 10/7/2010
- Multiple System Atrophy Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). 2009; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/msa/detail_msa.htm. Accessed 10/7/2010.
- Diedrich A, Robertson D. Multiple System Atrophy. eMedicine. 2010; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1154583-overview. Accessed 10/7/2010.
- Multiple system atrophy. MedlinePlus. 2008; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000757.htm. Accessed 10/7/2010.
- Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Multiple system atrophy. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
- MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
- The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Multiple system atrophy. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
- The Social Security Administration has included this condition in their Compassionate Allowances Initiative. This initiative speeds up the processing of disability claims for applicants with certain medical conditions that cause severe disability. More information about Compassionate Allowances and applying for Social Security disability is available online.