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, Intl CW2 6BG
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 870 7700 325
Fax: +44 870 7700 327
Email: info.svcs@climb.org.uk
Internet: http://www.CLIMB.org.uk

National Association for Visually Handicapped
22 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
USA
Tel: (212)889-3141
Fax: (212)727-2931
Email: staff@navh.org
Internet: http://www.navh.org

Foundation Fighting Blindness
11435 Cronhill Drive
Owings Mills, MD 21117-2220
Tel: (410)568-0150
Fax: (410)363-2393
Tel: (800)683-5555
TDD: (800)683-5551
Email: info@blindness.org
Internet: http://www.fightblindness.org

Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types
1364 Welsh Road G2
North Wales, PA 19454
Tel: (215)619-0670
Fax: (215)619-0780
Tel: (800)545-3286
Email: info@scalyskin.org
Internet: http://www.scalyskin.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@international.org
Internet: http://www.rpinternational.org

United Leukodystrophy Foundation
2304 Highland Drive
Sycamore, IL 60178
Tel: (815)895-3211
Fax: (815)895-2432
Tel: (800)728-5483
Email: office@ulf.org
Internet: http://www.ulf.org/

Blind Children's Fund
311 W. Broadway
Suite 1
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
Tel: (989)779-9966
Fax: (989)779-0015
Email: bcf@blindchildrensfund.org
Internet: http://www.blindchildrensfund.org

ELA - European Association against Leukodystrophies
2, rue Mi-les-Vignes
54521
Laxou Cedex, 61024
France
Tel: 33 383 30 93 34
Fax: 33 383 30 00 68
Email: ela@ela-asso.com
Internet: http://www.ela-asso.com

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981
Email: me20t@nih.gov
Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

National Registry for Ichthyosis and Related Disorders
University of Washington
Dermatology Department, Box 356524
1959 N.E. Pacific
Seattle, WA 98195-6524
Tel: (206)616-3179
Fax: (206)616-6793
Tel: (800)595-1265
Email: ichreg@u.washington.edu
Internet: http://www.skinregistry.org

Hunter's Hope Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 643
3859 N. Buffalo 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

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
150 Custer Court
Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
USA
Tel: (920)336-5333
Fax: (920)339-0995
Tel: (877)336-5333
Email: mums@netnet.net
Internet: http://www.netnet.net/mums/

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
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

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)462-3143
Fax: (650)462-3144
Tel: (877)735-2929
Email: info@letthemhear.org
Internet: http://www.letthemhear.org

Zellweger Baby Support Network
1852 Iron Horse Loop
Spearfish, SD 57783
Tel: (605)642-2072
Fax: (605)642-7525
Email: pamfreeth@zbsn.org
Internet: http://www.zbsn.org and http://groups.msn.com/ZellwegerBabySupportNetwork/welcometozbsn1.msnw

Retina International
Ausstellungsstrasse 36
CH-8005
Zürich,
Switzerland
Tel: (0)44 444 10 77
Fax: (0)44 444 10 70
Email: c.fasser@e-link.ch
Internet: http://www.retina-international.org

Perkins School for the Blind
175 North Beacon St.
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 (NCDB)
The Teaching Research Institute
Western Oregon University
345 N. Monmouth Ave.
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

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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