(see also Leukodystrophy)
The prevalence of the most common form,
adrenoleukodystrophy, is approximately 1 in 20,000 individuals worldwide.
Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum
A rare disorder present at birth affecting the structure of the brain
connecting the two hemispheres, and one that can have mild to severe
effects depending upon the extent of brain abnormalities.
Gender-specific characteristics may be present, as well as other related
malformations of the body.
Four million people in the U.S. are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease,
which usually begins after age 65. About 3% of men and women ages 65-74
have Alzheimer’s, and approximately half of the elderly over age 85 may
have the disease.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS/Lou Gehrig's
Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with amyotrophic
lateral sclerosis (ALS) each year. The incidence of ALS is 2 per 100,000
people, and as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any
Anxiety disorders, the most common
mental illness in America, affect more than 19 million people each year,
and cost the U.S. $46.6 billion in 1990 in direct and indirect costs,
nearly one-third of the nation's total mental health bill of $148
Arachnoid cysts are rare. They are cerebrospinal fluid-filled
sacs that are located between the brain or spinal cord and the arachnoid
membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal
Chiari malformation was thought to
occur in about 1 per 1,000 births. However, increased use of diagnostic
imaging demonstrates the disorder may be much more common.
Asperger syndrome is conservatively estimated to occur in as many as 2
per 10,000 children, with boys 3 to 4 times more likely to have the
Ataxia telangiectasia is estimated
to occur in about 1 in 40,000 to 100,000 births.
Attention Deficit Disorder
disorder occurs in as many as 1 in 20 children, with a boy to girl
ratio of 3 to 1.
By recent estimates, as many as 14
out of 10,000 children may have autism spectrum disorders. In the U.S.,
about 125,000 individuals have these disorders, and nearly 4,000
families across the country have two or more children with autism.
Approximately, 3 times as many boys as girls have autism.
At least 2 million Americans have
bipolar disorder which typically begins in adolescence or early
adulthood and continues throughout life. Although not common, bipolar
disorder has been diagnosed in children under age 12.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder affects approximately 2% of adults,
mostly young women. There is a high rate of self-injury, suicide
attempts and completed suicide in severe cases. Patients often need
extensive mental health services, and account for 20 percent of
Each year in the U.S.,
1.4 million individuals sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI): 50,000 die; 235,000 are hospitalized; and 1.1 million are
treated and released. Among children ages 0 to 14 years, TBI results in
an estimated: 2,685 deaths; 37,000 hospitalizations; and 435,000
emergency department visits annually.
More than 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a primary or
metastatic brain tumor each year. Brain tumors are the leading cause of
solid tumor cancer death in children under 20 years, and are the second
leading cause of cancer death in male adults 20 to 29 years, and the
fifth leading cause of cancer death in female adults 20 to 39 years.
Central Pain Syndrome
A neurological condition caused by damage to or dysfunction of the
central nervous system following stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors,
epilepsy, brain or spinal cord trauma, or Parkinson's disease resulting
in chronic pain.
Approximately 500,000 children and adults of all ages in the U.S. have
cerebral palsy; in children over 3, the statistic is 2 to 3 per 1,000.
Rare congenital disorders that stem from damage to or abnormal
development of the budding nervous system.
Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
DePaul University researchers estimate chronic fatigue syndrome affects
approximately 422 per 100,000 persons in the U.S. which translates into
as many as 800,000 people nationwide affected by this syndrome. The
majority (90%) have not been diagnosed and are not receiving proper
medical care for their illness.
A rare congenital brain abnormality
in which the occipital horns - the posterior or rear portion of the
lateral ventricles of the brain - are larger than normal because white
matter in the posterior cerebrum has failed to develop or thicken.
Creutzfeldt - Jakob Disease
The incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease in the U.S. is thought to be 1 in 9000 adults 55 years and
older. Approximately 85% of the cases are sporadic, which means there
is no known cause at present.
Dandy-Walker Syndrome is a rare congenital malformation of the
cerebellum and the fluid filled spaces around it.
The lifetime prevalence of major depression is 24% for women and 15% for
men. Approximately, 1 in 4 women will experience clinical depression in
her lifetime, and 1 in 10 mothers meets the criteria for depression
postpartum. Although men are less likely to have depression, 3 to 4
million men in the U.S. are affected by the illness. Finally, as many as
1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents have depression.
Developmental Disabilities (see Learning and Developmental Disabilities)
Dystonia disorders affect about 30 of every 100,000 persons. Certain
types of dystonia in specific populations may have a greater prevalence.
For instance, Ashkenazi Jews have a high prevalence of a specific type
of dystonia, approximately 1 in 10,000, due to a mutation in the DYT1
An estimated 0.5 to 3.7% of females have anorexia nervosa and
between 1.1% to 4.2% have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime.
Anorexia and bulimia are far less common in males (only 5 to 15% of all
cases); 2 to 5% of Americans experience binge-eating disorder, 35% of
whom are male.
More than 2.7 million people in the U.S. of all ages are living with
epilepsy, and each year 181,000 Americans will develop seizures and
epilepsy for the first time.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Spectrum
The reported rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) vary
widely due to populations surveyed and methods used. CDC studies report
a range of 0.2 to 1.5 per 1,000 live births for FAS in different areas
of the U.S.. Other FASDs are believed to occur approximately 3 times as
often as FAS.
Over 6 million Americans, 90% of them women in the prime of their life,
have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and sometimes struggle for years
before being correctly diagnosed. Symptoms usually appear between 20 to
55 years of age, but children are also diagnosed with FMS.
Between 7 and 27% of U.S. patients with advanced HIV develop dementia,
and it is a common cause of death in late-stage AIDS. The life
expectancy for patients who receive no treatment for HIV dementia is
approximately six months.
Holoprosencephaly is a rare congenital disorder caused by the failure of
the prosencephalon (the embryonic forebrain) to sufficiently divide into
the double lobes of the cerebral hemispheres.
Huntington’s disease affects men and women equally and has a prevalence
of about 1 in every 10,000 persons in most Western countries.
Hydranencephaly is a rare condition in which the brain's cerebral
hemispheres are absent and replaced by sacs filled with cerebrospinal
fluid. Many born with hydranencephaly die within first year of
life, but some children live for several or more years.
Hydrocephalus is believed to affect approximately 1 in every 500
children. However, incidence and prevalence data are difficult to
establish since there is no national registry of people with
hydrocephalus and closely associated disorders. Most cases are diagnosed
prenatally, at the time of delivery, or in early childhood.
Learning and Developmental
Learning and developmental disabilities are thought to occur in 1.4% of
the world's population.
The leukodystrophies are rare, and involve progressive degeneration of
the white matter of the brain due to imperfect growth or development of
the myelin sheath.
The prognosis for children with lissencephaly is dependent upon on the
degree of brain malformation; many will die before the age of 2, some
will survive, but show no significant development beyond a 3- to
5-month-old level, and still others may have near-normal development and
Mega Cisterna Magna (see Dandy Walker
(also called Macrancephaly)
Megalencephaly is a rare disorder
thought to be related to a disturbance in the regulation of cell
production in the brain.
Mental Retardation (see Learning and
Children with microcephaly may have mental retardation, delayed motor
functions and speech, facial distortions, dwarfism or short stature,
hyperactivity, seizures, difficulties with coordination and balance, and
other brain or neurological abnormalities. Some will have only mild
disability and others will have normal intelligence and continue to
develop and meet regular age-appropriate milestones.
Today there are 350,000 to 500,000 people in the U.S. who have been
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disorder that is more common in
women, and appears more frequently in whites than in Hispanics or
African Americans, and is relatively rare among Asians and other groups.
Non-Verbal Learning Disorder
Nonverbal learning disorders, or right-hemisphere dysfunction, affect one
of every ten children with a learning disability (Rourke, 1995;
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Approximately 3.3 million Americans between 18 to 54 years old or 2.3%
of the U.S. population in that age group have obsessive-compulsive
disorder (OCD) in a given year. Men and women are equally affected, and
the disease typically begins during adolescence or early childhood.
A rare congenital brain disorder in which most infants show significant
underdevelopment of part or all of the cerebral hemispheres,
characterized by seizures from infancy.
Approximately 2.4 million Americans between 18 to 54 years of age or
1.7% of the U.S. population in that age group has panic disorder in a
given year. Panic disorder is twice as likely in women as men and
typically strikes in young adulthood.
At least 1 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have Parkinson's,
and perhaps half are thought to be undiagnosed. In general, both men and
women are affected equally and the appearance of first symptoms occurs
on average after the age of 50.
Periventricular nodular heterotopia
The prevalence is unknown for periventricular nodular heterotopia (PNH),
a brain malformation, caused by abnormal neuronal migration, in which a
subset of neurons fails to migrate into the developing cerebral cortex
and remains as nodules that line the ventricular surface.
Phobias occur in
7.8% of American adults. Phobias are the most common
psychiatric illness among women of all ages and are the second most
common psychiatric illness among men older than 25.
Post-partum depression (PPD) is estimated to occur in approximately 10
to 20% of new mothers. It is a major form of depression and is less
common than postpartum blues. PPD includes all the symptoms of
depression but occurs only following childbirth, and can begin any time
after delivery for up to a year after the birth.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
disorder (PTSD) is estimated to occur in 7.8% of Americans at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice
as likely as men (5%) to develop the disorder. About 3.6% of U.S. adults
aged 18 to 54 (5.2 million people) have PTSD during the course of a
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Progressive supranuclear palsy affects approximately 20,000 Americans,
or one in every 100,000 people over the age of 60. Patients suffer from
serious and permanent problems with control of gait and balance, are
usually middle-aged or elderly and more often male.
Rasmussen’s encephalitis is a rare, chronic inflammatory disease that
usually affects only one hemisphere of the brain. Currently, it is
thought to be an autoimmune disease.
Rett Syndrome was thought to occur in approximately 1 in 15,000 female
births until a recent gene discovery. Since that discovery, findings
suggest a milder form of the Syndrome occurs in larger numbers.
Approximately 1 in every 200 people (0.5%) develops schizoaffective
disorder at some point during his or her life. This disorder is one of
the most serious psychiatric disorders. More hospital beds are occupied
by persons with schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia than any
other psychiatric disorder.
Approximately 1 in every 100 (1%) of Americans have schizophrenia
which is usually diagnosed in the late teens and early 20s in men and in
the mid-20s to early 30s in women. The illness seldom occurs after age
45, and only rarely before puberty (though cases of schizophrenia in
children as young as 5 have been reported). Men and women are affected
equally, and similar rates of the illness occur around the world.
Sensory Processing Disorder
It is estimated that between 5—13 % of children entering school have SPD
and that 3 of 4 are boys.
http://www.thespiralfoundation.org/pdfs/Fact Sheet for Educators.pdf
Septo Optic Dysplasia
Septo-optic dysplasia (SOD) is a rare disorder characterized by abnormal
development of the optic disk, pituitary deficiencies, and often
agenesis (absence) of the septum pellucidum (the part of the brain that
separates the anterior horns or the lateral ventricles of the brain).
Sleep disorders include sleep apnea (18 million Americans), narcolepsy
(1 million Americans), chronic insomnia (approximately 10-15% of
adults), and restless leg syndrome (10% of adults in North America and
Europe, and lower prevalence in India, Japan, and Singapore).
Th exact incidence is unknown, but estimates indicate SMS occurs in 1
out of every 25,000 births, which may be an underestimate as many are
thought to remain undiagosed due to lack of awareness of the syndrome.
More than 700,000 strokes occur each year in the U.S. It is the third
leading cause of death in the U.S. Stroke causes more serious long-term
disabilities than any other disease. Almost 75% of all strokes occur in
people over the age of 65, with the risk of a stroke doubling with each
decade after the age of 55. Stroke is more common and more deadly in
African Americans - occurring more frequently in this group even in
young and middle-aged adults.
Stuttering is estimated to occur in over 1 million Americans, and
affects individuals of all ages but most frequently occurs in young
children between the ages of 2 and 6. Boys are 3 times more likely to
stutter than girls. Most children outgrow their stuttering, with less
than 1% of adults still stuttering.
An estimated 200,000 Americans have Tourette Syndrome (TS), and possibly
as many as 1 in 100 people have a milder form of the disorder, such as
chronic or transient tics in childhood. Tourette's affects people of all
racial and ethnic groups and males are affected 3 to 4 times more often.
It is believed that TS affects 3 to 5 in every 10,000 individuals, and
about 10 in every 10,000 school-age children. Onset of TS and tics
typically occurs between the ages of 6 to 8 years old.
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE), or prion diseases, are
a group of rare degenerative brain disorders characterized by tiny holes
that give the brain a "spongy" appearance when brain tissue is viewed
under a microscope. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, fatal familial
insomnia, and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease are included among
Tuberous sclerosis complex affects 25,000 to 40,000 Americans, and 1 to
2 million individuals worldwide. It is a rare multi-system genetic
disorder that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and other organ
Williams syndrome is a rare genetic condition estimated to occur in 1 of
20,000 births which causes medical and developmental problems, affects
males and females equally, and has been identified worldwide in all