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Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2003 Feb 15;117C(1):31-41.

Metabolic disorders and mental retardation.

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Genetic Health Services, Victoria/Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


The metabolic and anatomical substrate of most forms of mental retardation is not known. Because the basis of normal brain function is not sufficiently understood, the basis of abnormal function is understood poorly. Even in disorders where the fundamental biochemical defect is known, such as phenylketonuria (PKU) and other enzyme defects, the exact basis for brain dysfunction is uncertain. The outcome for treated PKU, galactosemia, homocystinuria, and lysosomal disorders is not yet optimal. The various forms of nonketotic hyperglycinemia often respond poorly to current therapy. Less familiar disorders, with or without seizures, such as deficient synthesis of serine or creatine and impaired glucose transport into the brain, and disorders with variable malformations, such as Smith-Lemli-Opitz (SLO) syndrome and the congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs), may initially be thought to be a nonspecific form of developmental delay. Less familiar disorders, with or without seizures and disorders with variable malformations may initially be thought to be a nonspecific form of developmental delay. Simple tests of urine, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid may lead to a diagnosis, accurate genetic counseling, and better treatment. Metabolic brain imaging (magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)) has also helped to reveal biochemical abnormalities within the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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