Plenty of genetic disorders can affect humans and some of them have no specific cure or proven remedy. Adrenoleukodystrophy, also referred as ALD, is a rare genetic disorder that results in damage to the myelin sheath, the latter being a protective tissue for nerve cells in the brain. This eventually paves way to progressive brain deterioration and lack of nervous abilities. The adrenal glands that generate hormones also start malfunctioning gradually and metabolism and fluid balance in the body is disrupted in the long run. It is a medical condition dubbed as Leukodystrophy-which leads to progressive deterioration of white matter in the human brain.
Adrenoleukodystrophy was first documented in medical history in 1910. The affected age group is mostly 5 to 10 years. However, it can also manifest in teenagers and young adults in rare instances. The ailment remains dormant for a long time, which explains why it remains hard to diagnose. The affected persons can live for 10 years from its onset on an average. It may affect one in every 20000 persons approximately across races.
What causes Adrenoleukodystrophy
Adrenoleukodystrophy is a primarily genetic disorder. It gets transmitted to the kids from parents through X chromosomes. It is a disorder that affects mostly boys, though their mothers may have been affected.
Main symptoms of Adrenoleukodystrophy
The symptoms do not manifest at an early stage of the disorder as it is. The affected kids or persons live normally for a period which is succeeded by a sudden regression to a typical vegetative state. This leads to eventual death.
Affected kids exhibit Behavioral changes and symptoms like:
- Loss of memory
- Increased skin pigmentation
- Intermittent vomiting
- Reduced appetite
[ Read: How To Improve Your Memory ]
The affected kids also start faring poorly at school after onset of the disease. Their cognitive abilities and comprehensive capacities also take a nosedive.
Treatment options for Adrenoleukodystrophy
Sadly, there is no specific cure available for this disease and doctors recommend treating the major symptoms as far as possible. The loss of myelin sheath cannot be regenerated as it is. At most, treatments can be carried out to slow down the rate of progression of the disorder in affected lot. Involving Physiotherapy can yield some improvements in afflicted kids. In recent times, doctors are experimenting with methods like steroids and Stem cell transplants. However, their efficacy is yet to be proven and costs can be prohibitive for some people. Social acceptance and family supports also go a long way in making life acceptable for the victims.
There is some scientific evidence suggesting that the use of a concoction called Lorenzo’s Oil can delay onset of symptoms and reduce the severity. It is made of two chemicals, namely- oleic acid and erucic acid. It was named after Lorenzo Odone- a child who was found afflicted with ALD. His parents tried this formulation and that slowed down the progression of the disorder. It is yet to be approved by FDA or treating Adrenoleukodystrophy. However, the formulation may not be much more effective in treating kids in whom the diseases have progressed to an extent.
Home remedies for Adrenoleukodystrophy
While trying behavioral therapies and physiotherapy can help mitigate the symptoms of this ailment, you can also try a few herbal and home based remedies.
- Plant oil extracts: Some vegetable oils such as olive, Corn and sunflower oil can be used. They contain elevated amounts of oleic acid, which can delay progression of this ailment. Kids afflicted with this disorder should be served with foods cooked by these oils.
- Rapeseed Oil: This oil is enriched with erucic acid. This is effective in slowing the growth of Adrenoleukodystrophy. Foods cooked by this oil can be tried for this.
- Changes in diet: Apart from cooking food with specific oils, you can also make some changes in diet of a kid afflicted with this ailment for thwarting the progress of symptoms. Foods with long-chain fatty acids should be voided as eating these can aid the disorder to manifest faster. Foods that should be avoided include butter, milk, ice cream, fatty meat and nuts. You may also talk with a doctor to get a list of foods that should be eliminated entirely from diet of an affected person.