North American Mitochondrial Disease Consortium Patient Registry and Biorepository
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Mitochondrial diseases are caused by dysfunction of the mitochondria, which are specialized compartments that are present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria generate more than 90% of the energy that the body needs to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. This injures the cell and can cause its death. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail, and the life of the person in whom this is happening is severely compromised. Mitochondrial diseases primarily affect children, but adult onset is becoming more and more common.
Mitochondrial diseases are probably the most diverse human disorders at every level: clinical, biochemical, and genetic. Some affect only the nervous system but most affect many body systems, including the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney, and the endocrine and respiratory systems. Although mitochondrial disorders vary in severity, they are usually progressive, and often crippling. They can cause paralysis, seizures, ... (Show More)