Alexander Disease

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Alexander 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

  • Dysmyelogenic Leukodystrophy
  • Dysmyelogenic Leukodystrophy-Megalobare
  • Fibrinoid Degeneration of Astrocytes
  • Fibrinoid Leukodystrophy
  • Hyaline Panneuropathy
  • Leukodystrophy with Rosenthal Fibers
  • Megalencephaly with Hyaline Inclusion
  • Megalencephaly with Hyaline Panneuropathy

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Alexander disease is named after the physician who first described the condition in 1949 (WS Alexander). It is an extremely rare, progressive, neurological disorder that most often presents during infancy or early childhood, but can also occur as late as the sixth decade of life. Alexander disease has historically been included among the leukodystrophies--diseases of the white matter of the brain. These diseases affect the fatty material (myelin) that forms an insulating wrapping (sheath) around certain nerve fibers (axons). Myelin enables the efficient transmission of nerve impulses and provides the "whitish" appearance of the so-called white matter of the brain. There is a marked deficit in myelin formation in most infantile cases of Alexander disease, and sometimes in juvenile cases, particularly in the front (frontal lobes) of the brain's two hemispheres (cerebrum). However, white matter defects are sometimes not observed in later onset cases. Instead, the unifying feature among all Alexander disease cases is the presence of abnormal protein aggregates known as "Rosenthal fibers" throughout certain regions of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system [CNS]). These aggregates occur in astrocytes, a particular cell type in the CNS that helps maintain a normal CNS environment. Accordingly, it is more appropriate to consider Alexander disease a disease of astrocytes (an astrogliopathy) than a white matter disease (leukodystrophy).

Resources

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Tel: (888)663-4637
Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

Arc (a national organization on mental retardation)
1010 Wayne Ave
Suite 650
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: (301)565-3842
Fax: (301)565-3843
Tel: (800)433-5255
TDD: (817)277-0553
Email: info@thearc.org
Internet: http://www.thearc.org/

Children's Brain Diseases Foundation
Parnassus Heights Medical Building
350 Parnassus Avenue, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94117
USA
Tel: (415)665-3003
Fax: (415)665-3003
Email: jrider6022@aol.com

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/

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/

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

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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