Merck Manual

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Some Causes of Peripheral Nerve and Related Disorders

Some Causes of Peripheral Nerve and Related Disorders

Type

Examples

Motor neuron diseases*

Hereditary

Acquired diseases that begin suddenly

Acquired diseases that are chronic

Nerve root disorders

Hereditary

Acquired

Plexus disorders

Acquired

Peripheral nerve disorders

Hereditary

Infectious

Inflammatory

Ischemic (due to blockage of the blood supply)

Metabolic

Pressure-related (called nerve entrapment syndromes)

Toxins

Neuromuscular junction disorders

Various

Botulism in infants Infant Botulism Infant botulism is a potentially life-threatening infection that causes muscle weakness. It develops in infants who eat food containing spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. (See also Overview... read more , Eaton-Lambert syndrome Eaton-Lambert Syndrome Eaton-Lambert syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that impairs communication between nerves and muscles, causing weakness. Eaton-Lambert syndrome usually precedes, occurs with, or develops after... read more , myasthenia gravis Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disorder that impairs communication between nerves and muscles, resulting in episodes of muscle weakness. Myasthenia gravis results from malfunction of the... read more , and dysfunction caused by exposure to certain insecticides Insecticide Poisoning Many insecticides can cause poisoning after being swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. Symptoms may include eye tearing, coughing, heart problems, and breathing difficulties. The... read more (organophosphate insecticides) or chemical-warfare agents Nerve Chemical-Warfare Agents There are many types of chemical-warfare agents that affect different parts of the body. Nerve agents (sometimes incorrectly called "nerve gas") affect how nerves transmit signals to muscles... read more (such as sarin gas and Novichok, which was developed in Russia and has been used in assassination attempts) or by use of certain drugs (such as curare, which has been used to help relax muscles during surgery and to paralyze and kill when placed on the tip of poison darts)

* Motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis affect nerves in the brain as well as those in the spinal cord.