Batten disease: Three symptoms of the life-threatening condition

Medical breakthrough could cure common forms of blindness

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Although the numbers are so low, this does not mean that work should not be carried out to treat this condition.

There is currently no cure for Batten disease and young people who develop the condition rarely live past the age of 20.

Some children do not live longer than five or six years after symptoms develop.

Unlike children who develop the condition, adults who develop the condition do not experience a shortened life expectancy.

Nevertheless, it is important to know the symptoms, that are shared across different forms of Batten disease.

One of these symptoms – that occur in children with Batten disease – affect eyesight.

They may experience vision loss.

Other symptoms include epileptic seizures, cognitive problems and problems with speaking.

Furthermore, those with Batten disease may experience issues with coordination and balance.

They may also have issues with movement.

A number of symptoms appear later such as:
• Tremors, tics and muscle spasms
• Changes in mood
• Dementia
• Hallucinations and episodes of psychosis
• Sleep disturbances
• Muscle spasticity and rigidity
• Weakness in the limbs that becomes paralysis later on.
• Heart problems.

The cause of Batten disease relates to the child’s genes.

It’s a condition that’s inherited and only occurs when both parents carry the same gene mutation.

The gene in question affects the body’s ability to dispose of cellular waste.

As a result, fats, proteins, and sugars build up in the body and begin to affect the brain cells that, in turn, causes the body to stop functioning as it should.

Batten disease, although rare, is devastating for any children, parent or adult that is diagnosed with it.

A child diagnosed with the condition is denied a potential future and all the joys that may come with that.

A treatment has been developed to try to stop the loss of sight associated with the condition.

For more information on the condition contact the NHS or consult your GP.

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