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Kabuki syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by unusual facial features, skeletal abnormalities, and intellectual impairment. Abnormalities in different organ systems can also be present, but vary from individual to individual. There is no cure for Kabuki syndrome, and treatment centers on the specific abnormalities, as well as on strategies to improve the overall functioning and quality of life of the affected person.Kabuki syndrome appears to be found equally in males and females.
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Scientific research conducted over the past two decades suggests that Kabuki syndrome may be associated with a change in the genetic material. However, it is still not known precisely what this genetic change may be and how this change in the genetic material alters growth and development in the womb to cause Kabuki syndrome.
In Japan, it has been estimated that about one in 32,000 babies is born with Kabuki syndrome (which could mean about 50 cases a year in the UK). Although originally reported in Japan, cases have now been described around the world.
It was discovered and described in 1981 by two Japanese groups, led by the scientists Niikawa and Kuroki (hence the name). It is named Kabuki Syndrome because of the facial resemblance of affected individuals with white Kabuki makeup, a Japanese traditional theatrical form. On the Kabuki Syndrome listserv, children with this syndrome are called Kabuki Kids, or KKs.
People with the syndrome have an unusual facial appearance, characterised by large eyes, long and thick eyelashes and arched eyebrows.
Infants usually have normal birth weight, but most will not grow as quickly as expected. Delay in speech and language development is very common. Many infants also have problems feeding.
Kabuki syndrome is very complex and there are many other manifestations.
The cause is unknown – a genetic abnormality is suspected but has not yet been identified.It’s likely that if a gene is involved it’s a rare and random mutation that occurs sporadically.
Inheritance is thought to be autosomal dominant or X-linked recessive; several chromosomal abnormalities have been found, but none of them appear to be specific to Kabuki Syndrome. In August 2010, a study found that two thirds of the cases have a loss-of-function mutation in the MLL2 gene, which is coding for a histone methyltransferase; it can participate in epigenetic programming, and is thought to contribute to developmental processes.
The diagnosis of Kabuki syndrome relies on physical exam by a physician familiar with the condition and by radiographic evaluation, such as the use of x rays or ultrasound to define abnormal or missing structures that are consistent with the criteria for the condition (as described above). A person can be diagnosed with Kabuki syndrome if they possess characteristics consistent with the five different groups of cardinal symptoms: typical face, skin-surface abnormalities, skeletal abnormalities, mild to moderate mental retardation, and short stature.
Although a diagnosis may be made as a newborn, most often the features do not become fully evident until early childhood. There is no laboratory blood or genetic test that can be used to identify people with Kabuki syndrome.
There is no cure for Kabuki syndrome. Treatment of the syndrome is variable and centers on correcting the different manifestations of the condition and on strategies to improve the overall functioning and quality of life of the affected individual.
For children with heart defects, surgical repair is often necessary. This may take place shortly after birth if the heart abnormality is life threatening, but often physicians will prefer to attempt a repair once the child has grown older and the heart is more mature. For children who experience seizures, lifelong treatment with anti-seizure medications is often necessary.
Children with Kabuki syndrome often have difficulties feeding, either because of mouth abnormalities or because of poor digestion. In some cases, a tube that enters into the stomach is surgically placed in the abdomen, and specially designed nutritional liquids are administered through the tube directly into the stomach.
People with Kabuki syndrome are at higher risk for a variety of infections, most often involving the ears and the lungs. In cases such as these, antibiotics are given to treat the infection, and occasionally brief hospital stays are necessary. Most children recover from these infections with proper treatment.
Nearly half of people affected by Kabuki syndrome have some degree of hearing loss. In these individuals, formal hearing testing is recommended to determine if they might benefit from a hearing-aid. A hearing aid is a small mechanical device that sits behind the ear and amplifies sound into the ear of the affected individual. Occasionally, hearing loss in individuals with Kabuki syndrome is severe, approaching total hearing loss. In these cases, early and formal education using American Sign Language as well as involvement with the hearing-impaired community, schools, and enrichment programs is appropriate.
Children with Kabuki syndrome should be seen regularly by a team of health care professionals, including a primary care provider, medical geneticist familiar with the condition, gastroenterologist, and neurologist. After growth development is advanced enough (usually late adolescence or early adulthood), consultation with a reconstructive surgeon may be of use to repair physical abnormalities that are particularly debilitating.
During early development and progressing into young adulthood, children with Kabuki syndrome should be educated and trained in behavioral and mechanical methods to adapt to any disabilities. This program is usually initiated and overseen by a team of health care professionals including a pediatrician, physical therapist, and occupational therapist. A counselor specially trained to deal with issues of disabilities in children is often helpful is assessing problem areas and encouraging healthy development of self-esteem. Support groups and community organizations for people with disabilities often prove useful to the affected individuals and their families, and specially equipped enrichment programs should be sought. Further, because many children with Kabuki syndrome have poor speech development, a consultation and regular session with a speech therapist is appropriate.
The abilities of children with Kabuki syndrome vary greatly. Most children with the condition have a mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Some children will be able to follow a regular education curriculum, while others will require adaptations or modifications to their schoolwork. Many older children may learn to read at a functional level.
The prognosis of children with Kabuki syndrome depends on the severity of the symptoms and the extent to which the appropriate treatments are available. Most of the medical issues regarding heart, kidney or intestinal abnormalities arise early in the child’s life and are improved with medical treatment. Since Kabuki syndrome was discovered relatively recently, very little is known regarding the average life span of individuals affected with the condition, however, present data on Kabuki syndrome does not point to a shortened life span.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose
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