WHAT IS CDKL5 DEFICIENCY DISORDER?

Published by: International Foundation for CDKL5 Research

CDKL5 deficiency disorder is a rare developmental epileptic encephalopathy caused by mutations in the CDKL5 gene, and this can manifest in a broad range of clinical symptoms and severity. The hallmarks are early-onset, intractable epilepsy and neurodevelopmental delay impacting cognitive, motor, speech, and visual function. Although rare, the occurrence is believed to be ~1:40,000 -75,000 live births, making it one of the most common forms of genetic epilepsy.

The CDKL5 gene provides instructions for making proteins that are essential for normal brain and neuron development. The CDKL5 protein acts as a kinase, which is an enzyme that changes the activity of other proteins by adding oxygen and phosphate atoms (a phosphate group) at specific positions. Researchers have not yet determined which proteins are targeted by the CDKL5 protein.

CDKL5 was first identified in 2004, it stands for cyclin-dependent kinase-like 5, and its location is on the X chromosome. The X chromosome is one of the sex chromosomes; females have two X’s, and males have one X and one Y chromosome. The letters are an abbreviation of the scientific name of the gene, which describes what it does. The CDKL5 gene was previously called STK9. Many cases have been identified in boys, but because of the location of the gene, CDD mainly affects girls.


We do not fully know the cause of CDKL5 deficiency disorder at this time. Mutations have been found in children diagnosed with Infantile Spasms, West Syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut, Rett Syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and intractable epilepsy of unknown origin.

Through scientific research and collecting information through the CDKL5 International Database and at our Centers of Excellence, we are working hard to find all of the pieces of this puzzle. It is important to note that scientists and doctors do not know the full spectrum of CDKL5 disorders at this time. There are likely many people affected by CDKL5 who have mild symptoms and no seizures. With continued research and awareness of CDKL5, we hope to build a more comprehensive understanding of the spectrum of this disorder as we continue the search for a desperately needed cure. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Mom bringing awareness to daughter’s rare condition

Published by: Kuam News
Written by: Isaiah Aguon

Cri du Chat is also known as 5P-  occurs when there is a loss of genetic material on the short arm of the fifth chromosome. Its main characteristic is the kitten-like cry or soft cry that is due to an underdeveloped larynx.

May 5 was Cri du Chat Awareness Day.  Forty-one-year-old Jamielanie Guerrero Salas is a Dededo resident and is a mother to two beautiful daughters. Her youngest daughter, Savana Jo, was diagnosed with Cri du Chat at birth.

“When I delivered with Savana Jo I had to have an emergency c- section and with that after Savana Jo was finally delivered it was her high-pitched cry that alarmed,” she shared. “Dr. Santos and from there they had her tested for her chromosomes or her genetics and from there it was sent off to Honolulu confirmed that she did have Cri du Chat which is the deletion of the short arm 5p chromosome.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Transforming the lives of people with Cystic Fibrosis

Published by: Queens University- Belfast

A Queen’s University research team have transformed the lives of thousands of people with Cystic Fibrosis by leading on the clinical development of treatments that address the underlying genetic disorder.

Summary of the impact

The Queen’s University Cystic Fibrosis research team is recognised as world leading, having worked for over 12 years supporting the development of drugs that improve the function of CTFR.

Prior to their work, treatments for Cystic Fibrosis have been focused on symptom control. However, during the last decade, Queen’s University Belfast has been at the forefront of major advancements in drugs targeting the underlying genetic deficit.

This work included the development of clinical trial protocols, and inclusion of key outcome measures such as; lung function (FEV1), pulmonary exacerbation rate, and Quality of Life (QoL) tools for use in clinical trials of new therapeutics.

Extensive clinical trial experience coupled with the Clinical Trial Network infrastructure established by Queen’s and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, resulted in Queen’s playing a pivotal role in a drug development programme working alongside Vertex Pharmaceuticals to deliver trials for single, double and triple therapies in Cystic Fibrosis.

Working with industry, clinical trial networks and contract research organisations and colleagues at other Higher Education Institutes such as Imperial College, Queen’s University has developed expertise in the delivery of clinical trials of single and multiple combination therapies. Click here to read the rest of the story.

WHAT ARE THE EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROMES?

Published by: The Ehlers-Danlos Society

The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a group of hereditary disorders of connective tissue that are varied in the ways they affect the body and in their genetic causes. The underlying concern is the abnormal structure or function of collagen and certain allied connective tissue proteins 

They are generally characterized by joint hypermobility (joints that move further than normal range), joint instability (subluxation (partial separation of the articulating surfaces of a joint)) and dislocations (full separation of the surfaces of a joint)scoliosis, and other joint deformities, skin hyperextensibility (skin that can be stretched further than normal) and abnormal scarring, and other structural weakness such as hernias and organ prolapse through the pelvic floor. In the rarer types of EDS, there is also weakness of specific tissues that can lead, for example, to major gum and dental disease, eye disease, cardiac valve and aortic root disorders, and life-threatening abdominal organ, uterine, or blood vessel rupture. 

The Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are currently classified into thirteen subtypes. In all but the hypermobile subtype (hEDS) genetics variants have been identified as the cause for the disorder and are part of the diagnostic criteria. Since the publication of the 2017 criteria for EDS a couple of other genes have been identified describing additional new subtypesIn particular, these include AEBP1-related EDS, and a COL1A1/A2 gene variant causing an overlap between EDS and Osteogenesis Imperfecta. 

Each EDS subtype has a set of clinical criteria that help guide diagnosis; a patient’s physical signs and symptoms can be matched up to the major and minor criteria to identify the subtype that is the most complete fit. That said, there can be substantial overlap between the EDS subtypes. 

Sometimes a “provisional clinical diagnosis” of an EDS subtype is made. This can occur when a person meets a minimal clinical requirement but has no access to molecular confirmation or whose genetic testing shows one or more gene variants of uncertain significance. These individuals should be followed clinically, and alternative diagnoses and expanded molecular testing, skin histology (microscope examination of a skin biopsy), and testing of possibly affected family members should be considered. 

Please remember that an individual’s experience with EDS is their own and may not necessarily be the same as another person’s experience. Diagnostic criteria are meant. Click here to read the rest of the story

Autism Acceptance Month

Date: April 1- April 30, 2022

What is a Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, speech, behavioral and motor skills. It is a spectrum disorder meaning it varies from person to person. No two people have the same symptoms. It is estimated that 1% of the population is diagnosed with autism.

Prevalence

About 1 in 40 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

1 in 42 boys are diagnosed with autism

1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism

100 individuals are diagnosed everyday

ASD is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

ASD is 4 times more common among boys than girls.

Studies in Asia, Europe, and North American have idendified individuals with ASD  with an average prevalence of between 1% and 2%.

About 1 in 6 children diagnosed with autism also have a developmental disability.

Parents who have a child with ASD have a 2%-18% chance of having a second child diagnosed with autism

Almost half (44%) of children diagnosed with ASD has average to above average intellectual ability.

ASD commonly co-occurs with other developmental, psychiatric, neurological, chromosomal and genetic diagnoses.

Stimming

  • It is also prevalent among people on the autism spectrum.
  • In fact in many cases, it is part of the diagnosis due to the repetition of stimming.
  • Stimming is often used as a means to self-regulate, self-calm and for self-expression.
  • The movements are repetitive and are used to self-stimulate the 7 senses.
  • It is often described as a repetitive motor behavior that can disrupt academic and social and other activities.
  • One of the theories behind stimming is that beta-endorphrins are released in the brain casuing an euphoric feeling which is generally a response to pain.
  • Stimming behavior. based for self-soothing and to help a child or an adult regain emotional balance.
  • Sensory Overload. Too much sensory information can lead to stress, anxiety and eventually a meltdown.

Wandering Statistics

  • Nearly half of children with autism engage in wandering behavior
  • Increased risks are associated with autism severity
  • More than one third of children with autism who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number
  • Half of families report they have never received advice or guidance about elopement from a professional
  • Accidental drowning accounts for 71% of lethal outcomes, followed by traffic injuries at 18%
  • Other dangers include dehydration; heat stroke; hypothermia; falls; physical restraint; encounters with strangers
  • Accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with autism due to wandering.

 

Resources

Download Factsheet

Autism and Visual Impairment

Epilepsy and Autism

Self-Regulation and Autism