Metachromatic leukodystrophy is one of the several types of leukodystrophy, which is a rare inherited disease that damages the covering (the myelin) of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal column. As that damage occurs, the cells can no longer transmit signals between the brain and the body. This impairs movement, speaking, vision, hearing, and mental development.
The most common form of metachromatic leukodystrophy is the late infantile form, appearing between ages one and two. Children lose any speech, weaken, and develop walking difficulties.
There are no cures for any of the leukodystrophies. However, new treatments such as hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have shown promise.