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WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

What is leukodystrophy?


Leukodystrophy causes a progressive loss of all neurological functions: speech, memory, movement, sight, hearing, touch, eating and swallowing. The conditions are rare and usually affect children.

The support group the Myelin Project says there are 36 known genetic demyelinating diseases or leukodystrophies. These conditions affect people in different and debilitating ways and there is no current cure. Loss of myelin is also involved in multiple sclerosis, but in this case the loss is patchy and may recover.

What's the outlook for people with leukodystrophy?

Treatment for most types of leukodystrophy is about helping with symptoms and being supportive for the person with the condition and carers. Treatment may include medication, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and nutritional, educational and recreational programmes.

Reviewed on August 21, 2017

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