Learn About Neuromuscular Disease

Muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases take away physical strength, independence and life. Find out who gets these diseases, what causes them, what the symptoms and life expectancy are for people affected by them, and how MDA research is leading the way to treatments and cures.

Find a Neuromuscular Disease

Kids and adults in hometowns across America are living with diseases that weaken muscles and take away everyday abilities such as walking, running, hugging, getting dressed independently and even talking and breathing. MDA provides research, care and support for a broad range of these life-threatening neuromuscular diseases. By harnessing the power of a multiple-disease approach, MDA leverages learnings from one disease to accelerate progress in others for individuals and families.

Diseases are in alphabetical order within each category:

Muscular dystrophies

The muscular dystrophies are a group of diseases that cause weakness and degeneration of the skeletal muscles.

Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD)

Congenital muscular dystrophies (CMD)

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD)

Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD)

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD)

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMD)

Myotonic dystrophy (DM)

Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD)


Motor neuron diseases

In motor neuron diseases, nerve cells called motor neurons progressively lose function, causing the muscles they control to become weak and then nonfunctional.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)

Spinal-bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA)

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)


Ion channel diseases

Ion channel diseases are associated with defects in proteins called ion channels, and typically are marked by muscular weakness, absent muscle tone, or episodic muscle paralysis.

Andersen-Tawil syndrome

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis

Myotonia congenita

Paramyotonia congenita

Potassium-aggravated myotonia


Mitochondrial diseases

Mitochondrial diseases occur when structures that produce energy for a cell malfunction.

Friedreich's ataxia (FA)

MDA covers all mitochondrial myopathies, including the following:

Mitochondrial myopathies



A myopathy is a disease of muscle in which the muscle fibers do not function properly, resulting in muscular weakness.

Congenital myopathies

Distal myopathies

Endocrine myopathies

Inflammatory myopathies

Metabolic myopathies

Myofibrillar myopathies (MFM)

Scapuloperoneal myopathy


Neuromuscular Junction Diseases

Neuromuscular junction diseases result from the desctruction, malfunction or absence of one or more key proteins involved in the transmission of signals between muscles and nerves.

Congenital myasthenic syndromes (CMS)

Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS)

Myasthenia gravis (MG)


Peripheral Nerve Diseases

In peripheral nerve diseases, the motor and sensory nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body are affected, causing impaired sensation, movement or other functions.

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT)

Giant axonal neuropathy (GAN)


Because of continuing advances in research and medicine, this list is meant to serve as a guide.

Find MDA
in your Community