MELAS (Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes) syndrome is a rare childhood disorder. Affecting the nervous system and the muscles, the condition usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 15. Seizures, recurrent headaches, loss of appetite and constant nausea are symptoms associated with this condition. Stroke like episodes with muscle weakness in one part of the body may also occur. There can also be altered consciousness, hearing loss, loss of motor skills and cognitive impairment.
HOW IS MELAS SYNDROME DIAGNOSED?
Paediatricians conduct a complete physical evaluation and evaluate symptoms. Clinical tests may include measurement of lactate and pyruvate concentrations. Brain imaging may be conducted to detect stroke like signs. Electrocardiogram may be conducted to detect abnormalities in heart rhythm. Molecular genetic testing is the best way to confirm diagnosis.
HOW IS MELAS SYNDROME TREATED?
There is no known treatment for the underlying disease, which is progressive and fatal. Patients are managed according to what areas of the body are affected at a particular time. antioxidants and vitamins have been used, but there have been no consistent successes reported.
DID YOU KNOW?
This inherited disorder usually begins between the ages of 2 -15 years. The mutated gene that causes this syndrome is inherited only from the mother.