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Can Med Assoc J. 1984 Oct 1;131(7):751-5.

Phenylketonuria and its variants: observations on intellectual functioning.


The age at diagnosis, dietary treatment and intelligence quotient (IQ) of 119 patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) and its variants who were under long-term observation were studied. In 27 of the 79 patients with classic PKU the diagnosis had been made and treatment begun late (after 2 months of age). The mean IQ of these 27 patients was 57.6 when they were in their early 20s (although 2 had normal IQs). In contrast, among the 52 patients with classic PKU who were not treated late the mean IQ was 93.6 for the 27 who were still receiving dietary therapy. The mean IQs were 99.3 and 92.7 at ages 5 (when the diet was discontinued) and 15 years respectively for the 12 who had been treated "adequately". It was 76.0 for the 13 who were "over-treated" (malnourished) in the first 6 months of life. Among the patients with atypical PKU, who were treated early, the mean IQs were 110.0 for the 7 who were still receiving dietary therapy and 102.7 for the 12 who were not. The 21 patients with persistent benign hyperphenylalaninemia, who were not treated, had a mean IQ of 104.2. The most important factor in the ultimate IQ of patients with classic PKU is very early diagnosis (by 2 weeks of age) along with immediate initiation of dietary therapy.

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