Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a disorder of the nervous system. It leads to a gradual worsening of symptoms. Once symptoms develop, the average life expectancy is ten years or less.

MSA is sometimes called a Parkinson’s plus syndrome because many of the symptoms are similar. There are different types MSA based on the most apparent symptoms. One type was formerly known as Shy-Drager syndrome.

The cause of MSA is unknown. The symptoms are caused by degeneration of nerves throughout the brain and spinal cord. These nerves control automatic functions like balance and muscle coordination. The damage to the nerve may be caused by a buildup of a specific protein but this is not a confirmed cause.

Nervous System
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