Trimethylaminuria

the weirdest metabolic disorder

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What is trimethylaminuria ?

Trimethylaminuria is a metabolic disorder, a kind of a rare disease or more explicitly an inborn genetic error inherited in a recessive way. Trimethylaminuria is also called The fish odor syndrome. We understand thenceforth that one of the major symptom of TMAU is a fish-like body smell.

Individuals with trimethylaminuria lead a lonely lifestyle and experience rejection, seclusion and depression. They pay therfore the expensive price of an error they didn't commit.

Trimethylaminuria is not a new metabolic disorder, many stories spoke about the condition. First cases date back to prehistory, reported some researchers. But, a more recent example is the one of Caliban, a theatrical character Shakespeare conceived in "The tempest" and made funny because of its particularities. Actually, the term which describes the condition was created after scientists understood the origin of that disorder. In fact, studies resulted in finding an enzyme failure behind the syndrome. Flavin containing MonoOxygenase 3 (FMO3) are the genes which code enzymes responsible of the break down of compounds containing trimethylamine, a product that smells like ammonia and rotten fish.

Since this discovery at the 20th century's end, efforts have increased and studies become more detailed and numerous. However, the genetic mutation is still puzzling scientists, and remain without known remedy. Fortunately, trimethylaminuria is not mortal. Although its benignity, people with fish odor syndrome suffer from the psychological incidence of the disorder which ruins their social lives and hence destroys their careers.

Trimethylaminuria affect a small number of humans, more women than man. Its rarity makes it weirder and not understood. Others think it is a matter of hygiene, but they mistake indeed.

Some temporary solutions but not always efficient are found out as a result of the scientific breakthrough. As they could not repair the mutation, scientists tried to deal with the process of foods decomposition and control mechanisms favoring the production of nitrogenous substances; special diets were made to fit people with the disorder.

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