• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jnnpsycJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and PsychiatryCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. Oct 1998; 65(4): 492–496.
PMCID: PMC2170309

Myasthenia gravis: a population based epidemiological study in Cambridgeshire, England


OBJECTIVES—To perform a comprehensive survey of myasthenia gravis in the county of Cambridgeshire, England, establishing contemporary epidemiological data.
METHODS—Cases were ascertained from multiple sources. Prevalent patients were visited and assessed by means of a standardised questionnaire and examination complemented by review of medical case notes.
RESULTS—One hundred cases were identified in a population of 684 000 (prevalence 15 per 100 000 population, 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) 12-18). Thirty eight new diagnoses were made over a five year period providing an incidence of 1.1/100 000 population/year. The sex ratio was 2:1 F:M. After a mean follow up of 11.7 years, symptomatic disease was still restricted to ocular muscles in 25 patients. Thirty four of 100 patients underwent thymectomy a mean of 0.8 years after presentation, and a thymoma was present in 12. Highest remission rates were seen in patients presenting with generalised disease who underwent thymectomy but did not have a thymoma (27%). Cosegregation of an additional autoimmune disease occurred in 27 patients and in 24/49 (49%) women with onset<50 years of age.
CONCLUSIONS—This, the second highest reported prevalence for myasthenia, is likely to be the result of optimum case ascertainment, increased disease duration, application of complex diagnostic tests, and the impact of an aging population leading to a relative increase in the prevalence of ocular myasthenia.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (100K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Phillips LH, 2nd, Torner JC. Epidemiologic evidence for a changing natural history of myasthenia gravis. Neurology. 1996 Nov;47(5):1233–1238. [PubMed]
  • Osserman KE, Genkins G. Studies in myasthenia gravis: review of a twenty-year experience in over 1200 patients. Mt Sinai J Med. 1971 Nov-Dec;38(6):497–537. [PubMed]
  • Okinaka S, Reese HH, Katsuki S, Ueki K, Kuroiwa Y, Araki S, Shiraki H, Kurland LT. The prevalence of multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases in Japan. Acta Neurol Scand. 1966;42(Suppl):68–76. [PubMed]
  • Robertson N, Compston A. Surveying multiple sclerosis in the United Kingdom. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1995 Jan;58(1):2–6. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • FERGUSON FR, HUTCHINSON EC, LIVERSEDGE LA. Myasthenia gravis; results of medical management. Lancet. 1955 Sep 24;269(6891):636–639. [PubMed]
  • GARLAND H, CLARK AN. Myasthenia gravis; a personal study of 60 cases. Br Med J. 1956 Jun 2;1(4978):1259–1262. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Schon F, Drayson M, Thompson RA. Myasthenia gravis and elderly people. Age Ageing. 1996 Jan;25(1):56–58. [PubMed]
  • Storm-Mathisen A. Epidemiology of myasthenia gravis in Norway. Acta Neurol Scand. 1984 Oct;70(4):274–284. [PubMed]
  • Somnier FE, Keiding N, Paulson OB. Epidemiology of myasthenia gravis in Denmark. A longitudinal and comprehensive population survey. Arch Neurol. 1991 Jul;48(7):733–739. [PubMed]
  • Giagheddu M, Puggioni G, Sanna G, Tamburini G, Marrosu F, Rachele MG, Murgia B, Rosati G. Epidemiological study of myasthenia gravis in Sardinia, Italy (1958-1986). Acta Neurol Scand. 1989 Apr;79(4):326–333. [PubMed]
  • Beekman R, Kuks JB, Oosterhuis HJ. Myasthenia gravis: diagnosis and follow-up of 100 consecutive patients. J Neurol. 1997 Feb;244(2):112–118. [PubMed]
  • Phillips LH, 2nd, Torner JC, Anderson MS, Cox GM. The epidemiology of myasthenia gravis in central and western Virginia. Neurology. 1992 Oct;42(10):1888–1893. [PubMed]
  • Oosterhuis HJ. The natural course of myasthenia gravis: a long term follow up study. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1989 Oct;52(10):1121–1127. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ferrari G, Lovaste MG. Epidemiology of myasthenia gravis in the province of Trento (northern Italy). Neuroepidemiology. 1992;11(3):135–142. [PubMed]
  • Yu YL, Hawkins BR, Ip MS, Wong V, Woo E. Myasthenia gravis in Hong Kong Chinese. 1. Epidemiology and adult disease. Acta Neurol Scand. 1992 Aug;86(2):113–119. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...