Famous People With Myasthenia Gravis 2023

Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disorder that causes rapid fatigue and weakness of muscles. It often causes severe disability, which can be life-threatening.

Myasthenia Gravis: Understanding the Rare Neuromuscular Disorder

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a relatively rare autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that affects the communication between nerves and muscles, leading to muscle weakness and fatigue. The name "Myasthenia Gravis" is derived from Greek words, where "myasthenia" means muscle weakness, and "gravis" means severe. This chronic condition can significantly impact a person's quality of life, but with proper management and treatment, individuals with MG can lead fulfilling lives.

The Basics of Myasthenia Gravis:
Myasthenia Gravis occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the neuromuscular junction—the point where nerve cells communicate with muscles through the release of neurotransmitters. In MG, the immune system produces antibodies that target and block or destroy certain receptors for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contractions. This interference disrupts the transmission of signals, leading to muscle weakness and fatigue.

Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis:
The hallmark symptom of MG is muscle weakness that worsens with activity and improves with rest. The weakness tends to be more pronounced in certain muscle groups, such as those controlling eye movements, facial expressions, chewing, swallowing, and speaking. Common symptoms include:

Drooping eyelids (ptosis): The muscles that lift the eyelids become weak, causing one or both eyelids to droop.

Double vision (diplopia): Weakness in the muscles that control eye movements can result in seeing two images instead of one.

Facial weakness: Weakness in the facial muscles can lead to difficulty in smiling, frowning, or maintaining facial expressions.

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia): Weakness in the throat muscles can cause problems with swallowing, leading to choking or aspiration.

Speech problems: Weakness in the muscles responsible for speech can result in slurred or hoarse speech.

Muscle fatigue: Muscle weakness worsens with repeated use and improves after rest.

Diagnosis and Treatment:
Diagnosing Myasthenia Gravis can be challenging as its symptoms mimic other neuromuscular disorders. Physicians may conduct a series of tests, such as nerve conduction studies, electromyography (EMG), and blood tests to check for specific antibodies related to MG.

Although there is no cure for MG, several treatment options are available to manage its symptoms effectively. The goal of treatment is to improve muscle strength and reduce weakness. Common approaches include:

Medications: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, immunosuppressants, and corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to improve nerve-muscle communication and suppress the immune response.

Thymectomy: Surgical removal of the thymus gland may be recommended in some cases, as the gland is thought to play a role in the development of MG.

Plasma Exchange (Plasmapheresis): This procedure involves removing antibodies from the blood to temporarily improve symptoms.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG): Infusions of IVIG can help boost the immune system and temporarily reduce symptoms.

Living with Myasthenia Gravis:
Living with MG requires careful management and lifestyle adjustments. Patients are encouraged to:

Follow Treatment Plans: Adherence to prescribed medications and treatment regimens is essential for managing symptoms effectively.

Conserve Energy: Pacing activities and incorporating periods of rest can help manage muscle fatigue.

Adapt Diet: Eating softer foods and taking smaller bites can aid in swallowing difficulties.

Monitor for Exacerbations: Being vigilant about any changes in symptoms and seeking prompt medical attention is crucial to managing MG.

Seek Support: Joining support groups or connecting with others living with MG can provide valuable emotional support and practical advice.

1. Laurence Olivier

Irina Shayk

He was a Golden Globe, Academy Award, Emmy, and BAFTA-winning English actor, producer, and director.
Laurence’s first appearances on the stage were in schoolboy productions of Shakespeare.
Olivier appeared in films with all 3 of his wives:

  • Three Sisters (1970);
  • Uncle Vanya (1963);
  • Jill Esmond in No Funny Business (1933);
  • Joan Plowright in The Entertainer (1960);
  • That Hamilton Woman (1941);
  • 21 Days Together (1940);
  • Vivien Leigh in Fire Over England (1937).
In 1945, he was made an honorary Lieutenant with ENSA along with his friend Ralph Richardson.
After being ill with myasthenia gravis for the last 22 years of his life, on 11 July 1989, Olivier died of renal failure at his home near Steyning, West Sussex.

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2. Roger Smith

Dasha Taran

He was an actor who starred in the series as detective Jeff Spencer.
In addition, Smith appeared in movies including “No Time to Be Young,” “Man of a Thousand Faces,” and “Auntie Mame.”
Roger was married two times, 1st to model Victoria Shaw and then to Ann-Margret. In 1994, during an interview with the New York Times
In 1965, Roger Smith was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, which forced him to retire from performing.

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3. Amitabh Bachchan

Anya Pokrov

He is an Indian film actor who was known mainly for his roles in action films. He is most likely the most popular star in the history of India’s cinema.
Bachchan made his film debut in Saat Hindustani in 1969.
In 1983, while filming Coolie, he received a near-fatal injury.
In the year 2000, Amitabh Bachchan became the 1st living Asian to have been immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
In 2003, Amitabh was appointed a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Bachchan has won 6 International Indian Film Academy Awards and 15 Filmfare Awards, including the Best Actor Award in 2010 for his performance in Paa. Amitabh has an estimated net worth of 400 million dollars.

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4. Christopher Robin Milne

Vika Levina

He was born on August 21, 1920, in Chelsea, London, England.
As a kid, Robin was the basis of Christopher Robin, a character in his father’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
Christopher Robin Milne also has MG, and the condition would kill Robin in his sleep in April 1996.

5. David Niven


He was an English memoirist, actor, and novelist who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Separate Tables

  • The Pink Panther;
  • The Guns of Navarone;
  • Around the World in 80 Days as Phileas Fogg;
  • The Moon Is Blue;
  • A Matter of Life and Death as Squadron Leader Peter Carter.

6. Alla Pugacheva

Alla Pugacheva

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7. Brandon Cox

Natalia Vodianova

When he was in the 10th grade, Brandon was diagnosed with MG. In the present day, Brandon Cox is the Director of Business Development at Hoar Construction.

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8. James Carter

Anastasia Cebulska

American athlete and 2005 Olympic champion James Carter wasn’t always the 15th fastest man in the world. Although he started competing at a very young age, MG didn’t stop to ask if the time was convenient. Diagnosed with myasthenia gravis at the age of 12, he became unable to participate in sport. James couldn’t run due to his disease, but he also couldn’t walk or perform other everyday tasks.
After doctors found a tumor on his thymus and he had to undergo a thymectomy, his symptoms significantly improved. The procedure, however, is now thought to also be beneficial for MG patients who don’t develop tumors

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9. Stephen Garrett

Tanya Mityushina

Known as Static Major, Stephen was an award-winning hip hop artist who worked with big names like Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child and Lil Wayne. At age 33 Stephen was diagnosed with MG after being rushed to the hospital by his wife Avonti who woke up in the middle of the night, alerted by his labored breathing. Stephen had begun showing signs of the disease earlier when his speech got slurred – a prominent symptom of MG.
After multiple tests, doctors finally came to a diagnosis. The same night they would perform a procedure called plasmapheresis – similar to dialysis – to clear the toxins from his blood. Surgery was scheduled for the next day. However, Stephen, who already had fear of hospitals, wasn’t convinced this was the best course of action.

10. Wilma Pearl Mankiller

Maria Sharapova

The first woman elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma was a social activist and a social worker, invested in improving children’s living situation. In her time as an activist, she was dedicated to helping rural citizens and improving the standing of Native Americans.
Wilma Mankiller was honored with many awards among which the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In her 64 years on this Earth, Wilma achieves impressive results both in her political career and in her activism, all the while fighting multiple health issues, myasthenia gravis only being one of them. Mankiller died in 2010 from one of the many serious diseases she was battling at the time – pancreatic cancer.

Famous Individuals with Myasthenia Gravis: Triumph Over Challenges

Myasthenia Gravis (MG) is a neurological condition that affects individuals from all walks of life, including some notable figures who have made significant contributions to various fields. Despite the challenges posed by MG, these famous individuals have demonstrated resilience, determination, and an unwavering spirit in their respective careers. Let's explore a few famous people who have faced MG with courage and grace, inspiring others along the way.

1. Paul Tsongas (1941-1997):
Paul Tsongas was an American politician and senator who served in the United States Senate from Massachusetts. He was known for his commitment to environmental conservation and fiscal responsibility. Tsongas was diagnosed with MG in 1984 and continued to serve in the Senate while managing his symptoms. He even ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1992, inspiring others with his determination and advocacy for public service.

2. Lawrence Tynes:
Lawrence Tynes is a former professional football placekicker who played for teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Giants in the NFL. Tynes overcame MG to become one of the league's most successful kickers. His resilience on and off the field serves as an inspiration to athletes and fans alike.

3. Newton-John, Olivia:
Olivia Newton-John, the Australian singer, and actress, is well-known for her successful music career and iconic role in the movie "Grease." In 2017, she revealed her battle with MG, raising awareness about the condition and demonstrating how people can lead fulfilling lives despite health challenges.

Research and Advocacy:
Advancements in research and medical treatments have provided hope for individuals with MG. Pharmaceutical companies like Alexion and Argenx have been actively involved in the development of therapies for MG, offering potential treatment options for patients.

Bactrim and Myasthenia Gravis:
Bactrim, a common antibiotic, has been associated with exacerbating symptoms of MG in some individuals. It is essential for individuals with MG to communicate their medical history to healthcare providers to avoid medications that may adversely interact with their condition.

Understanding MG in Different Languages:
For Spanish-speaking individuals, "Myasthenia Gravis" is known as "Miastenia Gravis" in Spanish. Understanding the condition in different languages helps promote awareness and ensure accurate medical communication.


Q: What is Myasthenia Gravis (MG)?
A: Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue due to communication problems between nerves and muscles.

Q: What causes Myasthenia Gravis?
A: The exact cause of MG is not fully understood, but it is believed to be caused by the immune system attacking receptors for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contractions.

Q: What are the common symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis?
A: Common symptoms of MG include drooping eyelids (ptosis), double vision (diplopia), facial weakness, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), speech problems, and muscle fatigue worsening with activity.

Q: How is Myasthenia Gravis diagnosed?
A: Diagnosis of MG involves a series of tests, including nerve conduction studies, electromyography (EMG), blood tests for specific antibodies, and sometimes imaging studies.

Q: Is Myasthenia Gravis curable?
A: Currently, there is no cure for MG. However, with proper management and treatment, symptoms can be effectively controlled, allowing individuals to lead normal lives.

Q: What are the treatment options for Myasthenia Gravis?
A: Treatment options for MG include medications such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, immunosuppressants, and corticosteroids. Surgical thymectomy, plasma exchange, and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) infusions are also used in some cases.

Q: Can Myasthenia Gravis be hereditary?
A: MG is not usually hereditary, but there may be a genetic predisposition in some cases.

Q: How does Myasthenia Gravis affect daily life?
A: MG can impact daily life by causing muscle weakness and fatigue, affecting activities like walking, eating, speaking, and facial expressions. However, with appropriate treatment, many people with MG can manage their symptoms effectively.

Q: Can Myasthenia Gravis go into remission?
A: In some cases, MG can go into remission, leading to a temporary improvement or disappearance of symptoms. However, it can also have periods of exacerbation.

Q: Are there support groups for people with Myasthenia Gravis?
A: Yes, there are various support groups and online communities where individuals living with MG can connect, share experiences, and receive emotional support and valuable information.

Q: Who is at risk of developing Myasthenia Gravis?
A: Myasthenia Gravis can affect individuals of all ages and genders, but it is more common in women under 40 and men over 60. Certain genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the risk of developing MG.

Q: Can Myasthenia Gravis affect children and teenagers?
A: Yes, while MG is more frequently diagnosed in adults, it can also affect children and teenagers. Pediatric MG may present differently from adult-onset MG and often requires specialized management.

Q: Are there triggers that can worsen MG symptoms?
A: Yes, certain factors can exacerbate MG symptoms, such as illness, stress, fatigue, temperature extremes, and certain medications. Identifying and avoiding these triggers is essential for symptom management.

Q: How is Myasthenia Gravis managed during pregnancy?
A: Managing MG during pregnancy requires close collaboration between the patient and healthcare team. Some medications may need to be adjusted, and regular monitoring is necessary to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Q: Can Myasthenia Gravis lead to respiratory complications?
A: Yes, in severe cases of MG, muscle weakness can affect the muscles involved in breathing, leading to respiratory complications. Prompt medical attention is crucial if breathing difficulties arise.

Q: Is it safe to exercise with Myasthenia Gravis?
A: While exercise can be beneficial for individuals with MG, it should be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Exercise programs should be tailored to individual capabilities and may need to be modified during periods of symptom exacerbation.

Q: Can stress impact Myasthenia Gravis symptoms?
A: Yes, stress can exacerbate MG symptoms, as it may affect the immune system and worsen muscle weakness. Stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises and mindfulness, can be helpful for individuals with MG.

Q: Are there experimental treatments or ongoing research for MG?
A: Research into MG is ongoing, and there are clinical trials exploring new treatment options and potential therapies. Individuals with MG can discuss participation in research studies with their healthcare providers.

Q: Can Myasthenia Gravis cause depression or anxiety?
A: Dealing with a chronic condition like MG can impact a person's emotional well-being. It is not uncommon for individuals with MG to experience depression or anxiety. Seeking support from mental health professionals can be beneficial.

Q: What should family members and caregivers know about supporting someone with MG?
A: Family members and caregivers should educate themselves about MG to better understand the challenges their loved one may face. Providing emotional support, assisting with daily tasks during periods of weakness, and encouraging adherence to treatment plans are vital roles in helping someone with MG manage their condition effectively.

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