This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by abnormally large and dysfunctional axons (the specialized extensions of nerve cells that are required for the transmission of nerve impulses). The condition typically appears in infancy or early childhood with severe peripheral motor and sensory neuropathy (affecting movement and sensation in the arms and legs). Early signs include difficulty walking, lack of coordination, and loss of strength. Over time, the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) becomes involved, causing a gradual decline in mental function, loss of control of body movements, and seizures. Giant axonal neuropathy is caused by mutations in the GAN gene. It follows and autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Management is directed by a multidisciplinary team with the goal of optimizing intellectual and physical development.
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