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Hallervorden-Spatz disease
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Hallervorden-Spatz disease

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Pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration

Hallervorden-Spatz disease is a movement disorder that is passed down through families (inherited).

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  • Causes

    Hallervorden-Spatz disease usually begins in childhood.

    Most cases of Hallervorden-Spatz disease are due to a defect in a gene that makes a protein called pantothenate kinase 2. Patients with this genetic defect have a buildup of iron in parts of the brain.

  • Symptoms

    • Dementia
    • Involuntary muscle contractions (dystonia)
    • Movement problems
    • Muscle rigidity
    • Seizures
    • Spasticity
    • Tremor
    • Vision changes
    • Weakness
    • Writhing movements
  • Exams and Tests

    The doctor or nurse will examine you and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. The exam may show:

    • Abnormal postures and movements
    • Muscle rigidity
    • Tremors
    • Weakness

    Genetic tests can look for the defective gene that causes the disease. However, this test is not yet widely available. It is only found at certain research laboratories.

    Tests such as MRI can help rule out other movement disorders and diseases.

  • Treatment

    There is no specific treatment for Hallervorden-Spatz disease. Treatment is focused on controlling the symptoms.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    Hallervorden-Spatz gets worse and damages the nerves over time. It leads to a lack of movement and often death by early adulthood.

  • Possible Complications

    Medication used to treat symptoms can cause complications. Being unable to move from the disease can lead to:

    • Blood clots
    • Respiratory infections
    • Skin breakdown
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if your child develops:

    • Increased stiffness in the arms or legs
    • Increasing problems at school
    • Unusual movements
  • Prevention

    Genetic counseling is appropriate in families affected by this illness. There is no known way to prevent it.

Related Information

  Muscle cramps    

References

Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 428.

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Review Date: 8/28/2012  

Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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