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Friday, June 26, 2009

New test for mitochondrial disease

Written by Tena Moore  (if this post appears on any site other than it has been stolen)

New research has found a potential way to evaluate the severity of mitochondrial diseases, and give doctors insight into if and how their treatments are working. Mitochondrial diseases are caused by genetic errors in the cell’s mitochondria that cause toxic damage to the body’s cells. There are over 20 different types of mitochondrial diseases, and this research could be paramount for the people who have them – about 1 in every 9,000 adults in the United States suffers with some form of the disease.

According to the research, this variety of disorders may be caused by a glutathione deficiency.

Glutathione is a molecule that normally helps fight toxins and repair mitochondria damage. The research showed that those with mitochondrial disease had lower blood levels of glutathione than normal. The study was comprised of 20 healthy patients and 20 patients with mitochondrial disease; those with the disease had 25 percent lower levels of glutathione in their blood. This might not only be a marker for the disease, but it also shows that the body had a decreased ability to fight free radical damage and toxins, making it more susceptible to the disease.

According to the study, not only can measuring glutathione levels help indicate the disease and the severity of it, but it can also help doctors to measure whether their treatments are working along the way.

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