My name is Martyn and I live in Leicester, in the UK, with my wife Teresa, and our 2 daughters, Hannah and Ellie, and a dog called Max. Ellie was born in 1997 and at about the age of 5 weeks started having seizures. She subsequently developed severe learning difficulties with developmental delay. In 2010, at the age of 13, she was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition CDKL5.
I have developed this Supporting CDKL5 website to raise awareness of CDKL5 in the UK, to help provide information to other families who have children with CDKL5 and hopefully encourage and facilitate fund-raising events to support research into CDKL5.
On this website, we describe our own story, from when we first became aware of Ellie's potential disability, up to where we are at the present time. You will also find something about the history of CDKL5 as well as information about current research. I have tried to make the science (as far as I can understand it) as easy to read and as accurate as possible.
If you think there are mistakes or you don't understand something, then please contact me, and if you do have concerns about your own child or relative, then you should contact your own GP (that's my medical disclaimer bit !).
What is CDKL5?
CDKL5 is a genetic condition that mainly affects girls. It is caused by mutations in the CDKL5 gene which is located on the X-chromosome. It is not known what this gene does, although research is starting to provide some answers and probably more questions. The CDKL5 gene does obviously have an important role in early brain development.
What we do know is that as result of mutations in this gene, affected children begin to suffer epileptic seizures, usually in their first few weeks or months of life. They subsequently have severe developmental delay, do not usually develop the ability to walk or talk, and are completely dependent for their needs. In addition, they commonly suffer a number of other problems including, visual impairment, reflux (often requiring surgery) and musculo-skeletal problems. In Ellie, we have also seen wild mood swings, where she can go from being manically happy to miserably grumpy or cross. She also has a very erratic sleep pattern, which we assume is due to her epilepsy.
Despite this, children with CDKL5 are usually very beautiful children and often display other characteristics, such as glancing at you sideways or sitting with one or both legs crossed (see photos on other pages).
Neurodevelopmental delay due to mutations in the CDKL5 gene were only first identified in 2004. Prior to that children were thought to have a variation of another condition, called Rett Syndrome, that has similar features. However, it is now becoming clear that CDKL5 should be considered as a distinct entity. There are currently thought to be over 500 children in the world who are known to have a CDKL5 disorder and about 50 of these are in the UK.
Supporting CDKL5 research through CDKL5 UK
Supporting CDKL5 is not a charity, nor are we seeking donations for ourselves. However, in 2012, a new charity, CDKL5 UK, was set up to support families with children who have a CDKL5 disorder, and to raise funds for research.
I have set up a JustGiving page that will donate directly to CDKL5 UK. Therefore, if anyone is planning to be involved in a fund-raising event and is looking for a charity to support, then we would ask that you consider supporting CDKL5 UK.
Please click on Supporting-CDKL5 UK which donates directly into CDKL5 UK charitable funds.
CDKL5 UK - UK based charity (registered charity number - 1149099)
International Foundation for CDKL5 Research - based in the US
www.facebook.com/groups/cdkl5 - CDKL5 family support group on Facebook
you can also follow Supporting CDKL5 on facebook
These are individual stories about how families have been affected by CDKL5 - please let me know if you would like a link adding
Web presentations from IFCR February 2013 - Celebrating Rare Disease Day
Please also have a look at this CDKL5 video by Barry Pavesi
"Hello......I'm Max !"