Mitochondrial disorders include a large group of complex disorders that may affect children at any age. Mitochondria are in almost all cells and generate energy for the body to use. Mitochondrial disorders occur when the mitochondria of the cell fail to produce enough energy for the cell or organ to function properly. There is a wide range of symptoms and severity, which may vary from one individual to another. The diagnosis of mitochondrial disorders can be difficult and often requires tissue biopsies to aid diagnosis. Unfortunately there is no cure but many symptoms can be effectively treated.
A useful source for further information on mitochondrial disorders is the United Mitochondrial Disease foundation, www.umdf.org.