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New Research Shows One in 200 People Born with DNA Mutation That Can Lead to Devastating, Often Fatal Disease
Date:8/11/2008

Mutation Causing Mitochondrial Disease More Common Than Previously Believed

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (UMDF) today announced landmark research finding that one in every 200 people has a DNA mutation that could potentially cause a mitochondrial disease in them or their offspring. Mitochondrial disease is a devastating and often fatal disease, and mitochondrial disorders are at the core of many well known diseases and chronic illnesses, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and autism spectrum disorders. This research, which was partially funded by UMDF, was conducted by Patrick Chinnery, MBBS, PhD, MRCPath, FRCP, Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Genetics and professor of neurogenetics at Newcastle University in the UK. Dr. Chinnery's findings are published in the current issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

"This ground breaking discovery confirms what researchers and experts have believed for some time - mitochondrial disease is not rare," said Charles A. Mohan, Jr., Executive Director and CEO of UMDF. "We now know that 1 in 200 people carry the mutation for this horrible, debilitating disease. This discovery underscores the need for additional research funding to help better diagnose and treat affected individuals and to learn more about how mitochondrial dysfunction is connected to other diseases."

Mitochondrial diseases are extremely complicated and often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. They develop when the mitochondria - the body's main energy source - do not function properly. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90 percent of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. Because they are in almost all human cells, this "power failure" results in disease that can affect almost any body tissue. Therefore, the severity of symptoms and how the disease manifests itself can vary from person to person. One
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SOURCE United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
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