Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) is a condition that affects many of the body's systems, particularly the brain and nervous system (encephalo-) and muscles (myopathy). The signs and symptoms of this disorder most often appear in childhood following a period of normal development, although they can begin at any age. Early symptoms may include muscle weakness and pain, recurrent headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, and seizures. Most affected individuals experience stroke-like episodes beginning before age 40. These episodes often involve temporary muscle weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis), altered consciousness, vision abnormalities, seizures, and severe headaches resembling migraines. Repeated stroke-like episodes can progressively damage the brain, leading to vision loss, problems with movement, and a loss of intellectual function (dementia).
MELAS can result from mutations in one of several genes, including MT-ND1, MT-ND5, MT-TH, MT-TL1, and MT-TV. These genes are found in the DNA of cellular structures called mitochondria, which convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use. Although most DNA is packaged in chromosomes within the nucleus, mitochondria also have a small amount of their own DNA, known as mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA.
The exact incidence of MELAS is unknown. It is one of the more common conditions in a group known as mitochondrial diseases. Together, mitochondrial diseases occur in about 1 in 4,000 people.
This condition is inherited in a mitochondrial pattern, which is also known as maternal inheritance. This pattern of inheritance applies to genes contained in mtDNA. Because egg cells, but not sperm cells, contribute mitochondria to the developing embryo, children can only inherit disorders resulting from mtDNA mutations from their mother. These disorders can appear in every generation of a family and can affect both males and females, but fathers do not pass traits associated with changes in mtDNA to their children.
Michio Hirano is a Neurologist in New York, New York. Dr. Hirano has been practicing medicine for over 36 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of MELAS Syndrome. He is also highly rated in 32 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are MELAS Syndrome, Mitochondrial Neurogastrointestinal Encephalopathy Disease, Progressive External Ophthalmoplegia, and Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy. He is licensed to treat patients in New York.
Ayman Hattab-El is in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Hattab-El is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of MELAS Syndrome. He is also highly rated in 19 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are MELAS Syndrome, Neu Laxova Syndrome, Lactic Acidosis, and Primary Carnitine Deficiency.
Yasutoshi Koga is in Kurume, Japan. Koga is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of MELAS Syndrome. They are also highly rated in 4 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are MELAS Syndrome, Pyruvate Decarboxylase Deficiency, Coenzyme Q Cytochrome C Reductase Deficiency, and Precocious Puberty.
Published Date:updated Last, December
Published By: National Institutes of Health