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Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, EMBASE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index
Online ISSN 1827-1812
Finsterer J. 1, Stöllberger C. 2
1 Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung, Wien, Austria;
2 2nd Medical Department, Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung, Wien, Austria
The aim of this paper was to report the effect of pet-ownership on mental and physical abilities in a patient with MELAS syndrome. Pet-ownership is well known to be beneficial in stimulating physical activity and enhancing social contacts of patients with various disorders. The paper is a clinical observation in a single patient. In a 38-year-old ex-professional ski-runner with MELAS syndrome due to an AÆG transition at np8381 in the ATPase8 gene, manifesting as anarthria, epilepsy, hemihypesthesia, depression, weakness, wasting, and wheel-chair-boundness, provision of a dog resulted in marked reduction of seizure-frequency, and the dosage of the anti-epileptic drugs. The intensive relationship with the dog also improved mobility, physical fitness, mood, self-esteem, self-consciousness, self-confidence, and biorhythm-disturbances. Additionally, the patient’s social contacts widened and markedly ameliorated. Companionship of and responsibility for a pet improves psychomotor abilities, and stabilizes epilepsy in a severely handicapped patient with MELAS. Pet-ownership should be considered as an adjunctive measure for a disorder, for which only symptomatic and supportive therapy is available. Relevance to clinical practice: Pet-ownership may improve psychomotor abilities and stabilize epilepsy even in multimorbid patients with mitochondrial disorder.