People Against Leigh’s Syndrome (PALS), one of Houston’s newest and hottest non-profits, hosted its second annual Party with PALS event at Saint Arnold’s Brewery. With more than 175 attendees, PALS $100,000 for research on one of the most devastating mitochondrial diseases, Leigh syndrome.
Research shows that mitochondrial dysfunction is often a central element of these more commonly recognized diseases including Autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy and chronic fatigue, among others.
Funds raised at this event support the UT Mitochondrial Center of Excellence at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital through the Memorial Hermann Foundation. The clinic is led by Dr. Mary Kay Koenig and provides cutting edge medical care to individuals affected by neurometabolic and mitochondrial disorders. Additionally, Dr. Koenig treats the world’s largest homogenous Leigh syndrome population in the world.
Leigh syndrome is a progressive neurometabolic disorder with a general onset in infancy or childhood, often after a viral infection, but can also occur in teens and adults. It is characterized on MRI by visible necrotizing (dead or dying tissue) lesions on the brain, particularly in the midbrain and brainstem.
The prognosis for Leigh syndrome is poor. Depending on the defect, individuals typically live anywhere from a few years to the mid-teens. Those diagnosed with Leigh-like syndrome or who did not display symptoms until adulthood tend to live longer.