An Interview With Dr. Aziz Shaibani: Coping With Myasthenia Gravis
Last updated: August 2023
Dr. Aziz Shaibani is a neurologist specializing in neuromuscular disorders with over 30 years of experience. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine; Adjunct Professor of Neurology, Kansas University Medical Center; and as the Medical Director of the Nerve and Muscle Center of Texas.
Among his many achievements, Dr. Shaibani’s research has been published in leading medical journals and he has coauthored multiple books that focus on neuromuscular disorders.
We had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Shaibani about his experience as a neurologist, working with people with myasthenia gravis (MG), and the inspiration behind his book, Coping with Myasthenia Gravis: Mastering Your Life. Dr. Shaibani recommends this book for anyone struggling to cope with their MG. Coping with Myasthenia Gravis is available on Amazon.
What drew you to neurology?
I was always fascinated by the relationship between mind and matter. In middle school I started reading philosophy and the first question was: Which one came first, mind or matter?
This was followed by other questions such as: What is the nature of consciousness? Is there an objective reality? Is there a soul outside the functions of the brain?
All these questions led me to study the physiology of the nervous system in high school, and once I was in medical school, I knew I wanted to be a neurologist. I continued to search for answers to the mentioned questions.
What inspired your book?
I have a large population of myasthenics who ask questions that have no answers in the medical textbooks such as: What is the best strategy to deal with double vision during driving? Use an eye patch. What food is good for dysphagia? Cold food. What is the impact of my disease on sex life?
I found out that patients have learned how to cope with the disease based on their personal experience and usually the hard way. I was looking for a forum to transfer knowledge among patients. That is how I found the idea of the book.
You see all different patients, why write about MG?
Because much can be done to change the natural course of the disease and much can be ignored to cause serious and life-threatening complications.
I find it very rewarding to treat patients with myasthenia gravis. You can save lives. Paying attention to the details and behavior is important to have an effective treatment.
Any tips to help patients advocate for themselves?
Yes, myasthenia is not easy to diagnose, in particular, early ... and it can be confused with anxiety. Fatigue and other complaints usually resolve with rest and therefore, subsequent physical exams after rest are usually normal unless conducted by a specialist to demonstrate fatigability.
Fatigue is a common symptom of many disorders and is often dismissed by family members and medical staff alike.
I advise these patients to ask the emergency room doctors to examine their eye muscles, triceps, and hip flexors for fatigability and even to raise the possibility of MG with the doctors.
Enter to win the book
*This giveaway has closed but we still welcome community members to share their coping strategies.*
In honor of Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, we're gifting one lucky winner a copy of Dr. Shaibani's book, Coping with Myasthenia Gravis!
To enter the giveaway, answer our forum topic question: How do you cope with your MG?
The giveaway ends on June 30, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET. The winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize before an alternate winner will be selected. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions. Good luck!
My most frustrating MG symptom is _____.