Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a disorder of the nervous system.

MSA is sometimes called a Parkinson’s plus syndrome because many of the symptoms are similar. There are different types MSA based on symptoms. Once symptoms develop, the average life expectancy is 10 years or less.

The cause of MSA is unknown. Genetic factors may play a role in some families.

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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