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Lecture - Inherited Metabolic Disorders in Infancy and Childhood

FML at Pediatric Congress in Fujeirah, 2011


Inherited Metabolic Disorders in Infancy and Childhood

Associate Professor Michaela Jaksch, MD PhD
Freiburg Medical Laboratory ME LLC, Dubai


Worldwide, inherited metabolic disorders in infancy and childhood are rarely recognized and diagnosed efficiently - requiring an interdisciplinary work-up of feto-maternal specialists, pediatricians, neurologists with radiologists and specialized pathologists.

In brief, a metabolic disorder is a disturbance in one of the biochemical pathways in the body. Pathways in cell organelles can be affected known as peroxisomal, lysosomal, mitochondrial disorders or pathways in the cytosol, for example the glycolysis. In fact, every subcellular compartment such as the plasma membrane, the nucleus, the endoplasmatic reticulum, the Golgi apparatus plays a role in biochemical processes (synthesis, degradation, detoxification etc) and can therefore be affected. Due to genetic studies and due to better classifications, hundreds of different metabolic disorders are now known. Most of these inherited metabolic disorders are monogenic autosomal-recessive traits and are more common in consanguineous families. As biochemical pathways affect the whole body, clinical symptoms are rarely connected to one organ only; the clinical picture often presents as syndrome, for example epilepsy, growth retardation, ataxia and regression.

Acquired or polygenic metabolic disorders, such as Diabetes mellitus or gout (despite genetic susceptibility) do not belong to this group. 

Today, I will focus on the most common inherited metabolic disorders and how they can be easily recognized using diagnostic laboratory tools. 


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FML at Pediatric Congress in Fujeirah, 2011

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