The Effects Of Phenylketonuria On Infants Babies

1218 Words Sep 12th, 2016 5 Pages
Introduction/Problem Statement
In the United States, Phenylketonuria (PKU) affects about 1 in 10,000 to 15,000 newborn babies, making it a very uncommon genetic disorder (U.S National Library of Medicine, 2016). Phenylketonuria stems from an abundant buildup of an essential amino acid called phenylalanine that can become very dangerous when it reaches excessive levels (U.S.National Library of Medicine, 2016). The excessive buildup of phenylalanine is caused by an alteration in the gene which codes for the enzyme known as phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH), which functions in breaking down the aforementioned essential amino acid phenylalanine (U.S National Library of Medicine, 2016). This genetic mutation is caused by an autosomal, recessive genetic mutation in chromosome 12 (Genetic Science Learning Center, 2016).
Signs and symptoms of Phenylketonuria vary depending upon the age of the person as well as progression of the disorder. Newborn babies usually show no signs or symptoms of phenylketonuria until they are about a few months old (Mitchell, 2013). The diagnostic test for phenylketonuria in newborns is a heel-prick test to obtain a sample of blood. If the test results indicate high levels of phenylalanine, further blood or urine tests may be requested to verify the diagnosis. Almost all cases of phenylketonuria are identified during the newborn screening tests (Mitchell, 2013). Untreated babies, children, and adults may show signs and symptoms of phenylketonuria.…
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