Rare Infectious Disease News

Disease Profile


Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

<1 / 1 000 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Neuroacanthocytosis syndrome


Neuroacanthocytosis (NA) refers to a group of genetic disorders that are characterized by misshapen, spiny red blood cells (acanthocytosis) and neurological abnormalities, especially movement disorders.[1] The onset, severity and specific physical findings vary depending upon the specific type of NA present.[1] Signs and symptoms usually include chorea (involuntary, dance-like movements), involuntary movements of the face and tongue, progressive cognitive impairment, muscle weakness, seizures and behavioral or personality changes.[1][2] NA syndromes typically progress to cause serious, disabling complications and are usually fatal.[1] NA is inherited, but the disease-causing gene and inheritance pattern varies for each type.[1][2] Although there is some disagreement in the medical literature about what disorders should be classified as forms of NA, four distinct disorders are usually classified as the "core" NA syndromes chorea-acanthocytosis, McLeod syndrome, Huntington's disease-like 2 and pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN).[1]


There is currently no cure for neuroacanthocytosis. Management generally focuses on the specific symptoms that are present in each individual and may require the coordination of various specialists. Psychiatric symptoms and chorea may be treated with certain antipsychotic medications known as dopamine-receptor blocking drugs. Other antipsychotic medications as well as antidepressants and/or sedatives may also be used to treat some affected individuals. Seizures may be treated with anti-convulsants, which may also help to treat psychiatric symptoms. Anti-seizure medications that can can worsen involuntary movements are generally avoided. Dystonia has been treated with botulinum toxin to relax the muscles and reduce spasms. Because of feeding difficulties in some cases, individuals may need to have their nutrition monitored. Nutritional support, supplementation and/or a feeding tube may be necessary in some cases. Additional therapies that may be used to treat affected individuals may include speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Mechanical devices, such as braces or a wheelchair, may benefit some people. Computer-assisted speech devices may be necessary in some cases.[1]

More detailed information about treatment for neuroacanthocytosis is available on eMedicine's Web site and can be viewed by clicking here.


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Social Networking Websites

    • RareConnect has an online community for patients and families with this condition so they can connect with others and share their experiences living with a rare disease. The project is a joint collaboration between EURORDIS (European Rare Disease Organisation) and NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders).

      Organizations Providing General Support

        Learn more

        These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

        Where to Start

          In-Depth Information

          • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
          • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
          • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
          • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Neuroacanthocytosis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


            1. Neuroacanthocytosis. NORD. March 30, 2011; https://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/975/viewAbstract. Accessed 12/21/2011.
            2. NINDS Neuroacanthocytosis Information Page. NINDS. March 16, 2009; https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/neuroacanthocytosis/neuroacanthocytosis.htm. Accessed 12/21/2011.

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