Leukodystrophy is a rare disease that results in the progressive decline of the myelin, or “white matter,” of the brain. Myelin works to insulate and protect axons, which transmit signals from the brain throughout the body.
Leukodystrophy is caused by genetic defects that lead to imperfect growth or development of the myelin sheath that covers the axon. (An axon is a part of the nerve cell.) Each type of leukodystrophy is the result of a certain genetic defect that controls one of the chemicals that make up myelin. Most leukodystrophies are inherited, or passed from parent to child. Others may arise spontaneously.
The following factor is thought to increase the risk of leukodystrophy:
Family history of the disease
Symptoms of leukodystrophy may include:
Gradual decline of the health of an infant or child who previously appeared well
Replacement of the abnormal or absent enzyme is being explored for a few of the leukodystrophies. Research is being done in this area. Talk to your doctor to find out what treatments may be right for you.
There is no known way to prevent leukodystrophy. For parents who have had a child with leukodystrophy, genetic counseling may be beneficial to find out the chances of having another child with the disease.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a