Mumbai: Rajawadi hospital treats infant, 10-year-old sibling with monogenic obesity

The infant boy was brought to Rajawadi hospital in May for the first time, and has since been admitted three times with breathing difficulties and pneumonia-like symptoms. He has not started walking yet because of his body weight.

The Rajawadi civic hospital is treating a male infant and his 10-year-old sister for the rare disease of monogenic obesity, which doctors at the facility said is perhaps the only known instance of two cases of the disease in the same family.

While the 13-month-old weighs 18 kg, his sister, now 10, has undergone a gastric bypass procedure twice to bring her weight down from 70 kg to 56 kg.

The two children are being treated by Dr Prashant Patil, a paediatric obesity consultant with Rajawadi hospital.

The couple have two other daughters — six and three years old — who are free from this disease. They lost a son earlier when he was 18 months old, but the reason is unclear.

Monogenic obesity is caused from a mutation or deficiency of a single gene.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Patil said, “There are a little over 100 cases in the world of monogenic obesity. The girl was being treated for this and now her brother has the same disease. We can say this is the first family with a monogenic obesity problem.”

The infant boy was brought to Rajawadi hospital in May for the first time, and has since been admitted three times with breathing difficulties and pneumonia-like symptoms. He has not started walking yet because of his body weight.

Patil said the girl was detected with monogenic obesity a few years ago. She also has type 2 diabetes, which is one of the elements of her condition.

“When the boy was brought to Rajawadi hospital with similar symptoms, we did a genetic evaluation of their parents and found that they have both have one affected gene,” said Patil.

Patil said that the US FDA-approved setmelanotide is used to treat this condition. It can be administered to children only over six years of age and the cost is huge, as it is not available in India. The family may not be able to afford this.

The father said he is a daily wage labourer. “My son’s weight has been increasing since he was four months old, and now doctors are treating him. He has recovered from chest congestion and is feeling better. My daughter is the only child from the family who goes to school,” he said, adding that he has not been able to go to work because of his child’s illness.

Dr Vidya Thakur, superintendent of Rajawadi hospital, said, “This is a rarest of rare case. We have a good child specialist who can treat such cases. He has taken a keen interest in helping the family. We are also trying to help them financially.”

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