Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT)---Symptom Relief (Cannabis)
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a group of inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nerves (those outside the brain and spine).
Charcot-Marie-Tooth is one of the most common inherited nerve-related disorders. Defects in at least 14 genes cause different forms of this disease.
The disease involves damage to the covering (myelin sheath) around nerve fibers
In some, the disease causes destruction of the myelin sheath. In others, the central (axon) portion of the nerve cell wears away.
Nerves that stimulate movement (the motor nerves) are most severely affected. The nerves in the legs are affected first and most severely.
What is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders, affecting approximately 1 in 2,500 people in the United States. The disease is named for the three physicians who first identified it in 1886 - Jean-Martin Charcot and Pierre Marie in Paris, France, and Howard Henry Tooth in Cambridge, England. CMT, also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy (HMSN) or peroneal muscular atrophy, comprises a group of disorders that affect peripheral nerves. The peripheral nerves lie outside the brain and spinal cord and supply the muscles and sensory organs in the limbs. Disorders that affect the peripheral nerves are called peripheral neuropathies.
What are the symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?
Symptoms usually begin between mid-childhood and early adulthood. They may include:
- Foot deformity (very high arch to feet)
- Foot drop (inability to hold foot horizontal)
- Loss of lower leg muscle, which leads to skinny calves
- Numbness in the foot or leg
- "Slapping" gait (feet hit the floor hard when walking)
- Weakness of the hips, legs, or feet
- Later, similar symptoms may appear in the arms and hands, which may include a claw-like hand deformity.
Within the various types of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the specific gene that is altered distinguishes subtypes (such as 1A, 2A, 4A, and X1).
How do people inherit Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease?
The pattern of inheritance varies with the type of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Type 1, most cases of Type 2, and intermediate forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. This pattern of inheritance means that one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder. In most cases, an affected person has one affected parent.
Some cases of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease result from a new mutation and occur in people with no history of the disorder in their family.
As of early 2010, mutations in 39 genes have been identified as causes of CMT
The use of ascorbic acid has been proposed, and has shown some benefit in animal models
In 2010, a study published in the Journal Science indicated that scientists had identified those proteins that control the thickness of myelin sheath. This discovery is expected to open the avenue to new treatments in the coming years.
The most important activity for patients with CMT is to maintain what movement, muscle strength and flexibility they have.
Physical therapy and moderate activity are recommended but overexertion should be avoided.
There are also several corrective surgical procedures that can be done to improve physical condition.
Medical marijuana can help relieve some symptoms of CMT:
- Cannabis extract helps stop muscle cramps
- Cannabis extract helps stop pain in the legs and hands
- Cannabis extract stops spasticity
- Cannabis extract relieves depression associated with CMT disease
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