Law Office of Robert A. Miller
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Understanding more about MELAS

Oregon residents may benefit from understanding more about the challenges physicians face when attempting to diagnose a unique medical condition like mitochondrial myopathy, lactic acidosis, encephalopathy and stroke-like episodes. Otherwise referred to as MELAS, this medical condition is described as a common mitochondrial disease, or DNA mutation, that is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting a number of internal systems, especially the muscle and nervous system.

Patients with MELAS often exhibit different symptoms, and the actual course of the disease can vary as well. In addition, the episodes are often recurrent for many MELAS patients. Researchers claim that establishing an accurate diagnosis for MELAS relies heavily on monitoring the muscle biopsy, genetic results, serial MRI readings and clinical manifestations. Adhering to these parameters may help improve physicians' ability to diagnose this condition in its earlier stages. Some of the early symptoms of MELAS include vomiting, loss of appetite, persistent headaches and muscle weakness. Seizure and pain and exercise intolerance are common MELAS symptoms as well.

People with severe cases of MELAS may begin exhibiting stroke-like episodes before they turn 40 years old. Physicians still don't have any effective or approved therapy for treating this unique genetic disease. After reviewing MELAS articles spanning three decades, researchers determined that the most prominent symptom of the genetic disease are the stroke-like experiences. The most effective ways to diagnose MELAS may be genetic analysis, muscle biopsy and serial functional MRI.

Anyone who suffers injuries due to misdiagnosis may benefit from contacting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be prepared to investigate the incident and help identify which parties at the medical facility are culpable for the ensuing damages. Plaintiffs in cases involving a medical injury or misdiagnosis may be entitled to receive restitution that helps compensate for corrective procedures, rehabilitation therapy and other expenses resulting from the failure to diagnose.

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