suffered from a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, known as dysautonomic
The disease, which can affect children and adults, occurs because of a
malfunction in mitochondria, tiny
“energy-producing” elements within human cells.
Because the mitochondria, which are responsible for providing the fuel
for cellular function, are weakened or strained, a number of health
functions may be impaired.
The myopathic form of the disease affects muscles and muscle function.
Some of the more prominent symptoms include muscle weakness, fatigue
and eyelid drooping (known as progressive external ophthalmoplegia, or
The severity of the symptoms depend up on the severity of the disease.
In some cases, the balance between “good”
mitochondria (those unaffected by DMM) and the
“bad” mitochondria is enough that a person only
suffers minor physical impairment, such as runner’s fatigue.
In other cases, the balance is upset enough that a person might require
special medical attention.
Mattie’s particular disorder affected the autonomic, or
automatic, functions of the body, including respiratory, cardiac, and
gastrointestinal systems. In this case, use of a mechanical breathing
apparatus, as well as other devices to assist with the automatic
functions affected, are often necessary, as they were in Mattie's case.
Though prevention of the disease is limited, there are various
treatments for DMM to help families cope with this rare but difficult
illness. Organizations such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association
continue to raise money for research, testing, and treatment.
To find out more
about Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy, please visit the MDA website
Mito. Corculum Cantionis would
like to thank the MDA website for much of the information discussed on
MDA · PETITION
THANK YOU ·