Definition: a rare fatal mitochondrial disorder affecting principally infants and young children, manifested as seizures, psychomotor retardation, spasticity, myoclonus, optic atrophy, cranial nerve palsies, and ataxia; due to deficiencies of cytochrome c oxidase or NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase or other enzymes involved in energy metabolism; pathologically, there is widespread symmetric necrosis; most often autosomal recessive transmisstion, but X-link recessive and mitochondrial inheritances have been described.
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