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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Menkes disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Copper transport disease
  • Kinky hair disease
  • Menkea syndrome
  • Menkes syndrome
  • Steely hair disease
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Menkes disease is a disorder that affects copper levels in the body. It is characterized by sparse, kinky hair; failure to thrive; and deterioration of the nervous system. Additional signs and symptoms may be noted. Children with Menkes syndrome typically begin to develop symptoms during infancy and often do not live past age 3. Menkes disease is caused by mutations in the ATP7A gene. It is inherited in an X-linked recessive pattern. Early treatment with copper may improve the prognosis in some affected individuals. In rare cases, symptoms begin later in childhood. [1]
Last updated: 3/8/2011


  1. Menkes syndrome. Genetics Home Reference (GHR). March 2009; Accessed 3/8/2011.
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Basic Information

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference has three articles on this topic from the perspective of Pediatrics: Genetics and Metabolic Disease, Neurology and Dermatology. You may need to register to view the information online, but registration is free.
  • MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings) is a terminology tool used by the National Library of Medicine. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Menkes disease. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

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