What Is Nasa-Hakola Disease?
Nasa-Hakola disease (NHD), or what is also frequently referred to as polycistic lipomembranous osteodysplasia with sclerosing leukoencephalopathy, is a genetic disorder that affects the brain and the skeletal system. Specifically, those who have NHD typically suffer from cyst-like bone defects, or polycistic lipomembranous osteodysplasia, and certain brain problems due to sclerosing leukoencephalopathy.
NHD symptoms often manifest in affected individuals shortly after they reach adulthood. Many NHD sufferers experience foot and ankle pain as a first symptom, but then become prone to breaking bones due to bone thinning problems as their NHD progresses. Over time, such affected individuals may even lose the ability to walk or grasp objects.
Later-arising symptoms which may appear about a decade or so after the aforementioned bone symptoms first appear affect brain function. Specifically, NHD-affected individuals may develop one or more of the following:
- Sudden and drastic change in personality
- Unusually poor judgment
Frequent manic and euphoric feelings
- Inability to concentrate or think clearly
Unfortunately, people who have NHD usually decline relatively quickly after their symptoms first arise. In fact, most of these individuals pass away due to their NHD symptoms between age 30 and age 50. It should be noted, however, that NHD is very rare and that NHD is most commonly seen in the Finnish and Japanese populations. It is estimated that 1 in every 500,000 to one million Finns suffers from NHD.