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Refsum Disease

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important

It is possible that the main title of the report Refsum Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Refsum Disease
  • Phytanic Acid Storage Disease
  • Hypertrophic Neuropathy of Refsum
  • Heredopathia Atactica Polyneuritiformis
  • DOC 11 (Phytanic Acid Type)
  • Disorder of Cornification 11 (Phytanic Acid Type)

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Refsum disease is one of a family of genetic disorders known as the leukodystrophies in which, as a consequence of the disruption of lipid metabolism, the myelin sheath that insulates and protects the nerves of the brain fails to grow. It is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. It is characterized by progressive loss of vision (retinitis pigmentosa); degenerative nerve disease (peripheral neuropathy); failure of muscle coordination (ataxia); and dry, rough, scaly skin (ichthyosis).



The disorder is caused by the accumulation of a particular fatty acid (phytanic acid) in blood plasma and tissues. This occurs because of a malfunction of the gene that makes the enzyme that breaks down (metabolizes) this acid. The essential enzyme is absent.



Treatment with a diet low in foods that contain phytanic acid can be beneficial. Our bodies cannot make phytanic acid. Instead, it is introduced to the body in certain foods, including dairy products, beef, lamb and some seafood.

Resources

CLIMB (Children Living with Inherited Metabolic Diseases)

Climb Building

176 Nantwich Road

Crewe, CW2 6BG

United Kingdom

Tel: 4408452412173

Fax: 4408452412174

Email: enquiries@climb.org.uk

Internet: http://www.CLIMB.org.uk



Foundation Fighting Blindness

7168 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 100

Columbia, MD 21046

Tel: (410)423-0600

Fax: (410)872-0574

Tel: (800)683-5555

TDD: (800)683-5551

Email: info@FightBlindness.org

Internet: http://www.blindness.org/



Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types

2616 N Broad Street

Colmar, PA 18915

Tel: (215)997-9400

Fax: (215)997-9403

Tel: (800)545-3286

Email: info@firstskinfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.firstskinfoundation.org



Lighthouse International

111 E 59th St

New York, NY 10022-1202

Tel: (800)829-0500

Email: info@lighthouse.org

Internet: http://www.lighthouse.org



Retinitis Pigmentosa International

P.O. Box 900

Woodland Hills, CA 91365

Tel: (818)992-0500

Fax: (818)992-3265

Tel: (800)344-4877

Email: info@rpinternational.org

Internet: http://www.rpinternational.org



United Leukodystrophy Foundation

224 N. 2nd St.

Suite 2

DeKalb, IL 60115

Tel: (815)748-3211

Tel: (800)728-5483

Email: office@ulf.org

Internet: http://www.ulf.org/



ELA - European Association Against Leukodystrophies

2, rue Mi-les-Vignes

54521

Laxou Cedex, 61024

France

Tel: 33383309334

Fax: 33383300068

Email: ela@ela-asso.com

Internet: http://www.ela-asso.com



NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801

Bethesda, MD 20824

Tel: (301)496-5751

Fax: (301)402-2186

Tel: (800)352-9424

TDD: (301)468-5981

Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/



National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders

University of Washington

Dermatology Dept. Box 356524

1959 N.E. Pacific Street

Seattle, WA 98195-6524

Tel: (800)595-1265

Email: info@skinregistry.org

Internet: http://www.skinregistry.org/



Hunter's Hope Foundation, Inc.

PO Box 643

6368 West Quaker Street

Orchard Park, NY 14127

Tel: (716)667-1200

Fax: (716)667-1212

Tel: (877)984-4673

Email: info@huntershope.org

Internet: http://www.huntershope.org



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223

Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/



Madisons Foundation

PO Box 241956

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tel: (310)264-0826

Fax: (310)264-4766

Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org



Let Them Hear Foundation

1900 University Avenue, Suite 101

East Palo Alto, CA 94303

Tel: (650)462-3174

Fax: (650)462-3144

Email: info@letthemhear.org

Internet: http://www.letthemhear.org



Zellweger Baby Support Network

9310 Groundhog Drive

Richmond, VA 23235

Tel: (605)642-2072

Fax: (605)642-7525

Email: pamfreeth@zbsn.org

Internet: http://www.zbsn.org



Retina International

Ausstellungsstrasse 36

CH-8005

Zürich,

Switzerland

Tel: 410444441077

Fax: 410444441070

Email: christina.fasser@retina-international.org

Internet: http://www.retina-international.org



Perkins School for the Blind

175 North Beacon Street

Watertown, MA 02472

Tel: (617)924-3434

Fax: (617)926-2027

Email: Info@Perkins.org

Internet: http://www.Perkins.org



National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness

The Teaching Research Institute

345 N. Monmouth Avenue

Monmouth, OR 97361

Tel: (800)438-9376

Fax: (503)838-8150

Tel: (800)438-9376

TDD: (800)854-7013

Email: info@nationaldb.org

Internet: http://www.nationaldb.org



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to MyD-H, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock patient portal. You must be a registered MyD-H user for the Lebanon, Manchester, or Nashua locations to access this site.

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  2/21/2008

Copyright  1987, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1995, 2004 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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