Articles on Medical Diseases and Conditions

Entries for the ‘Genetic Disorders’ Category

Other Congenital Diseases

There are a large number of congenital and genetic disorders, too many to include all in this book. If such a condition is suspected, in general the best procedure is to refer the patient or family to a university center that has an active genetics diagnosis program. If the state government health department has a […]


In porphyric diseases, the main similarity is the abnormal secretion of substances that are precursors of the porphyrin compound heme (of hemoglobin). The known pathways of porphyrin synthesis begin with glycine and succinate, which are combined to eventually form a compound known as d-aminolevulinic acid (ALA). This goes on to produce a substance known as […]

Enzyme Deficiency Diseases

Congenital cholinesterase deficiency (succinylcholine apnea). Cholinesterase is an enzyme best known for its role in regulation of nerve impulse transmission via breakdown of acetylcholine at the nerve synapse and neuromuscular junction. There are two categories of cholinesterase: acetylcholinesterase (“true cholinesterase”), found in RBCs and nerve tissue; and serum cholinesterase (“pseudocholinesterase”). Cholinesterase deficiency became important when […]

Abnormalities of Glandular Secretion

Cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis (mucoviscidosis, or fibrocystic disease of the pancreas) is the most common eventually lethal autosomal recessive inherited disorder in Europeans (estimated gene frequency of 1 in 2,000 live births). Incidence in African Americans is 2% of that in Europeans; it is rare in Asians. About 90% of homozygotes have symptoms resulting predominately […]

Diseases of Mineral Metabolism

Wilson’s disease (hepatolenticular degeneration). Wilson’s disease is a familial disorder of copper metabolism transmitted as an autosomal recessive trait. It most often becomes manifest between ages 8 and 30 years; symptoms usually do not develop before age 6 years. About 30%-50% of patients initially develop hepatic symptoms, about 30%-40% begin with neurologic symptoms, and about […]

Congenital Diseases of Skeletal Muscle

Several well-known disorders affecting skeletal muscle either are not congenital or do not yet have any conspicuously useful laboratory test. Among these are disorders whose primary defect is located in the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system rather than in skeletal muscle itself. In this group are various neurologic diseases that secondarily result in […]

Chromosomal Abnormalities

Chromosome analysis. There are several conditions, some relatively common and some rare, that result from either abnormal numbers of chromosomes, defects in size or configuration of certain single chromosomes, or abnormal composition of the chromosome group that determines sexual characteristics. Laboratory diagnosis, at present, takes three forms. First, chromosome charts may be prepared on any […]

Defects in Amino Acid metabolism (Aminoacidopathies)

Primary (metabolic) aminoacidopathies Phenylketonuria (PKU). Classic PKU is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. It is uncommon in Asians and African Americans and is due to deficiency of a liver enzyme known as “phenylalanine hydroxylase,” which is needed to convert the amino acid phenylalanine to tyrosine. With its major utilization pathway blocked, phenylalanine accumulates in […]

Mucopolysaccharidoses (Disorders of Connective Tissue and Bone)

The best known of this group are Hunter’s and Hurler’s syndromes. In these conditions there is inability to metabolize certain mucopolysaccharides, resulting in accumulation and storage of these substances in various body organs and tissues and excretion of some stored material in the urine. Hurler’s syndrome. Hurler’s syndrome is caused by deficiency of the enzyme […]

Lysosomal Storage Diseases

Lysosomal storage diseases are the result of genetic deficiency in certain enzymes found in tissue cell cytoplasmic lysosomes. These enzymes help metabolize certain glycoproteins, glycolipids, and mucopolysaccharides. The substance normally altered by the deficient enzyme accumulates in the cell lysosome area, and a storage disease results. The nonmetabolized substance either is stored in the tissue […]