MYASTHENIA gravis is a neuromuscular disorder manifested by weakness and fatigability of voluntary muscles. The clinical features were well known by the turn of the century,12 and little has subsequently been added to the classic descriptions of the disease. The similarity between myasthenia gravis and curare poisoning, and the remarkable response of many patients to anticholinesterase drugs,34 first pointed to the neuromuscular junction as the general region of the abnormality. However, the exact site and nature of the process remained elusive, until the development and application of a new set of tools —the neurotoxins derived from certain snake venoms —permitted.
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