This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Leukoencephalopathy with vanishing white matter is a progressive disorder that mainly affects the central nervous system (CNS). This disorder causes deterioration of white matter, which consists of nerve fibers covered by myelin (the substance that protects the nerves). Most affected people begin to have signs and symptoms during childhood, but symptoms may first become apparent anywhere from before birth to adulthood. Symptoms may include difficulty coordinating movements (ataxia); muscle stiffness (spasticity); and optic atrophy. Symptoms may worsen rapidly with episodes of fever, after head trauma, or with other stresses on the body. This disorder may be caused by mutations in any of 5 genes and is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. There is no specific treatment, and prognosis seems to correlate with the age of onset, the earliest forms being more severe.
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