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Dev Med Child Neurol. 1997 Mar;39(3):153-7.

Salla disease--rare or underdiagnosed?

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United Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


Salla disease is described in two English children. Eighty-seven of the 89 cases so far reported come from Finland. It may be genuinely rare outside Finland or possibly underdiagnosed. Although a lysosomal disorder, it lacks many of their more characteristic features. Deterioration, for example, in the paediatric age range is rare. The clinical features are, however, consistent and specific. Definitive diagnosis is achieved by demonstrating increased amounts of free sialic acid in cultured skin fibroblasts. If the colorimetric method in widespread use is employed for this, a false negative result may be obtained. High-pressure liquid chromatography is sufficiently sensitive. It is possible therefore that Salla disease is under-reported, both from lack of clinical awareness and from lack of appropriate laboratory confirmation.

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