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Definition Return to top
Hallervorden-Spatz disease is a movement disorder that is passed down through families (inherited).
Causes Return to top
Hallervorden-Spatz usually begins in childhood.
Most cases of Hallervorden-Spatz are due to a defect in a gene that makes a protein called pantothenate kinase 2. Patients with this genetic defect have a buildup of iron in parts of the brain.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
A nervous system (neurological) examination will show:
If other family members are affected, this may help confirm the diagnosis.
Genetic tests can look for the defective gene that causes the disease. However, this test is not yet widely available. It is only found at certain research laboratories.
Tests such as MRI can help rule out other movement disorders and diseases.
Treatment Return to top
The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms. Although there is no specific treatment for Hallervorden-Spatz disease, taking certain vitamins (including pantothenate, Coenzyme Q10, and other antioxidants) may help.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Hallervorden-Spatz gets worse and damages the nerves over time. It leads to a lack of movement and often death by early adulthood.
Possible Complications Return to top
Medication used to treat symptoms can cause complications. Being unable to move from the disease can lead to:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if your child develops:
Prevention Return to top
Genetic counseling is appropriate in families affected by this illness. There is no known way to prevent it.
References Return to top
Jankovic J. Movement disorders. In: Goetz CG, ed. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 34.Update Date: 9/22/2008 Updated by: Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.