Thymus and Myasthenia Gravis. Pathophysiological and Clinical Features

  • Loredana Capone
  • Riccarda Gentile
  • Rudolf Schoenhuber


In 1672 Thomas Willis published a book, “De anima brutorum” in which he wrote about “a woman who temporarily lost her power of speech and became mute as a fish” [1]. This has been interpreted as being the first written description of myasthenia gravis (MG). Others give credit to Wilks for the first report of disease in 1877, characterized as a bulbar palsy without anatomic lesion [2]. The first reasonably complete accounts were those of Erb in 1878 and Goldflam in 1893 [3, 4] and for many years thereafter, the disorder was referred to as the Erb- Goldflam syndrome. Jolly was the first to use the name myasthenia gravis in 1895 and to demonstrate the “myasthenic reaction” of muscle repeatedly stimulated by Faradism [5], introducing the basic criteria of instrumental techniques of MG diagnosis, the repetitive nerve stimulation, elaborated later by Desmedt [6].


Motor Neuron Disease Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy Thymic Hyperplasia Compound Muscle Action Potential Amplitude Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loredana Capone
    • 1
  • Riccarda Gentile
    • 1
  • Rudolf Schoenhuber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyBolzano HospitalBolzanoItaly

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