Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Treatment of genetic diseases: in the real world.4. klinefelter's syndrome

What is Klinefelter syndrome?
Klinefelter syndrome is a chromosomal condition that affects male sexual development. Most males with Klinefelter syndrome have one extra copy of the X chromosome in each cell. Because their testicles do not develop normally, affected males may have low levels of the hormone testosterone beginning during puberty. A lack of this hormone can lead to breast development (gynecomastia), reduced facial and body hair, and an inability to father children (infertility). Compared with other men, adult males with Klinefelter syndrome have an increased risk of developing breast cancer and a chronic inflammatory disease called systemic lupus erythematosus. Their chance of developing these disorders is similar to that of normal adult females.
Boys with Klinefelter syndrome may have learning disabilities and difficulty with speech and language development. They tend to be quiet, sensitive, and unassertive, but personality characteristics vary among males with this condition.
Variants of Klinefelter syndrome, which involve more than one extra X chromosome or extra copies of both the X and Y chromosomes in each cell, tend to have more severe signs and symptoms. These disorders affect male sexual development and are associated with decreased IQ, distinctive facial features, skeletal abnormalities, poor coordination, and severe problems with speech.

How common is Klinefelter syndrome?
Klinefelter syndrome affects 1 in 500 to 1,000 males. Variants of Klinefelter syndrome are much rarer, occurring in 1 in 50,000 or fewer male births. Females are not affected by Klinefelter syndrome

Initial treatment
Treatment for Klinefelter syndrome usually starts when a boy is about 11 to 12 years old. It begins with measuring the amount of testosterone and other hormones in his blood. Many teenage boys with Klinefelter syndrome don't have low levels of testosterone.4 If a boy's testosterone level is low, he is given a man-made form of testosterone (Depo-Testosterone) on a regular basis. Testosterone can be given as an injection or through a skin patch or gel.
Increases body hair, mainly on the face (beard), under the arm (axillary), and in the genital area (pubic).
Increases muscle development.
Increases sex drive.
Helps prevent osteoporosis.
May prevent or shrink enlarged breasts.
Provides better self-esteem by allowing the boy to "fit in" with his peers. This can result in more successful interpersonal relationships.
Side effects of testosterone replacement therapy are uncommon, but include worsening acne, overly rapid sexual development, and behavior problems (such as being overly aggressive). Careful monitoring is important to prevent these side effects.
Ongoing treatment
Ongoing treatment forKlinefelter syndrome may include:
Help for language and learning difficulties. If language delays are identified in early childhood, educational assistance and speech therapy can be used to treat the problem. Children with learning difficulties can receive educational support through the school system.
Testosterone replacement. This is given by injection or through a skin patch or gel. Testosterone replacement usually continues throughout the man's life but does not help infertility. For men who want to start a family, counseling and treatment at a fertility clinic are generally recommended.
Regular medical checkups to monitor for development of other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, behavior problems, or psychiatric disorders, such as depression. Professional counseling or medication may be needed.


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