The most common fatty acid oxidation disorder, medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD), has become the focal point for the adoption of tandem mass spectrometry to detect it and related inborn errors of metabolism. This article updates a human genome epidemiology review of MCADD published in 1999. The focus of this update is on epidemiologic parameters rather than mutations associated with MCADD. Currently available information from screening studies on the frequency of detection of MCADD in newborns, as well as the frequency of homozygotes for the common mutation in the ACADM gene, is summarized. In the United States, the average incidence of the disorder is from 1 in 15,000 to 1 in 20,000 births, with individual states reporting frequencies from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 30,000 births. In addition, a systematic review was undertaken of the published literature on the frequency of mortality and developmental disabilities among children with MCADD, both in screened and unscreened cohorts. It seems that in the absence of newborn screening for MCADD, premature death or serious disability occurs in 20% to 25% of children with the disorder. Systematic collection and analysis of follow-up data are still needed to ascertain the frequencies of outcomes in screened cohorts.
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