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Leukodystrophies

 

 
 

The leukodystrophies are rare diseases that affect the cells of the brain. Specifically, the diseases affect the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects nerve cells. Damage to this sheath slows down or blocks messages between the brain and the rest of the body. This leads to problems with

  • Movement
  • Speaking
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Mental and physical development

Most of the leukodystrophies are genetic. They usually appear during infancy or childhood. They can be hard to detect early because children seem healthy at first. However, symptoms gradually get worse over time.

There are no cures for any of the leukodystrophies. Medicines, speech therapy and physical therapy might help with symptoms. Researchers are testing bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for some of the leukodystrophies.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

 
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    • LeukodystrophyFrom the National Institutes of Health(National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
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Illustration of the brain

National Institutes of Health

 

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.