Monomelic Amyotrophy involves progressive degeneration and loss of motor neurons, nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord which control the voluntary muscles. It can be characterised by weakness and wasting in a single limb usually in the arm and hand. Although there is no pain associated with it, but affected person may experience mild sensory loss. The condition is more common in males between the ages of 15 and 25. Both onset and progression are slow.
The exact cause is not known yet.
There is no cure for this condition but treatment involves muscle strengthening exercises and training in hand coordination.
The progression of symptoms is slow in the starting few years before it reaches plateau and remain stable for many years. The progression of weakness to the opposite limb is very rare.
Diagnosis is done with help of medical history and physical examination. A special recording technique called Electromyography (EMG) is used to detect the electrical activity in the muscles. Any loss to the nerve supply or denervation in the limb can be easily detected by EMG. Other options include MRI and CT scans to identify muscle atrophy.
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