15th International Congress
15th international congress

News Release

Monday, June 6, 2011
Media Contact:

Elizabeth Laur, (414) 276-2145, elaur@movementdisorders.org
MDS Press Room: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Room 705

Note to media: See abstract 166

Early dietary treatment of galactosemia is not enough
to prevent development of movement disorders

TORONTO - A study analyzing the connection between galactosemia and the development of movement disorders was presented today at The Movement Disorder Society's 15th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders.

Ignacio Rubio-Agusti, MD, of the Institute of Neurology in London, led the study, which found that patients with galactosemia can develop a movement disorder or other neurological problems, despite early dietary treatment of the disease. Galactosemia is a rare genetic metabolic disorder, commonly diagnosed in infants and newborns, which affects an individual's ability to metabolize the sugar galactose properly. Movement disorders, primarily dystonia and tremor, are common complications seen in these patients.

The study analyzed 18 patients, all of which had been diagnosed early in life and placed on a restricted diet since diagnosis. Despite early treatment, many of the patients still experienced neurological complications and, in some cases, developed a movement disorder. Therefore, dietary treatment alone is not adequate in prevention of neurological problems when treating patients with galactosemia.

Jonathon Mink, MD, PhD, Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester in New York, adds to these findings by stating, "With the implementation of newborn screening for inborn errors of metabolism, individuals with certain previously devastating diseases are now living well into adulthood. In galactosemia, early treatment with a galactose-restricted diet reduces the toxic burden of accumulated galactose and its metabolites, but does not reverse the enzyme deficiency. Dr. Rubio-Augusti reports the important finding that a substantial number of adults with diet-treated galactosemia develop neurologic complications, with the majority manifesting a movement disorder. These findings indicate that early diagnosis and treatment with dietary restriction is not sufficient to prevent long-term neurologic complications in up to half of affected adults. It is unknown whether other types of intervention may reduce the risk of these complications."

About the 15th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders:
Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options for Movement Disorders, including Parkinson's disease. More than 3,200 physicians and medical professionals from 74 countries will be able to view over 1,100 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

About The Movement Disorder Society:
The Movement Disorder Society, an international society of over 3,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about The Movement Disorder Society, visit www.movementdisorders.org.