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Multiple system atrophy

Other Names for this Disease
  • MSA
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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.[1] The cause of multiple system atrophy is unknown, although environmental toxins, trauma, and genetic factors have been suggested.[2] 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.[1][3] 
Last updated: 10/7/2010


  1. Multiple System Atrophy Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). 2009; Accessed 10/7/2010.
  2. Diedrich A, Robertson D. Multiple System Atrophy. eMedicine. 2010; Accessed 10/7/2010.
  3. Multiple system atrophy. MedlinePlus. 2008; Accessed 10/7/2010.
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  • 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.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an 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.

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