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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 www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

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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