This summer marked the 21st annual Metabolic Camp hosted by Emory University. This camp helps girls and young women with inherited metabolic disorders, including phenylketonuria (PKU) and maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), learn how to better manage and live with their disorders. Metabolic Camp provides the girls with educational opportunities for handling the lifetime responsibility of managing their diets and health along with traditional camping activities.
These disorders are caused by the body’s inability to process proteins normally. In individuals with these rare genetic disorders even one gram of protein can cause irreversible brain damage or death. However through Georgia’s newborn screening program, metabolic disorders can often be detected early on.
“Metabolic Camp has had a tremendous impact not only on the quality of life of girls over the years but also on the outcome of the next generation of their children,” says Rani Singh, PhD, RD, camp director and director of Emory’s Genetics Metabolic Nutrition Program. “Most of these girls can’t attend other camps because of their special dietary needs, and this allows them to interact with others with their conditions and feel less isolated, while learning things that can save their lives and the lives of their future children.”
People with these disorders must learn as children to stick to a special diet of fruits and vegetables along with their specialized medical formula, and they are able to live normal lives if they adhere to this routine. It is important for females to follow specialized diets before and throughout pregnancy in order to avoid maternal PKU (MPKU) and prevent mental disabilities in their children. Emory University Metabolic Camp helps these girls and young women understand the importance of these diets and learn how to fit it into their everyday life.
The Emory University Metabolic Camp allows young women to be around others that can understand what they are going through and show them that they are not alone. The camp helps them learn skills and gain knowledge that will help them throughout a lifetime of managing and living with their disorder.
Metabolic Camp is a collaboration between the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute(ACTSI) and the Department of Human Genetics at Emory University Medicine.
For more information about Emory University Metabolic Camp visit the Emory News Center.