François Feillet

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nancy, Nancy, Lorraine, France

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Publications (112)343.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Neonatal loading studies with tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) are used to detect hyperphenylalaninemia due to BH4 deficiency by evaluating decreases in blood phenylalanine (Phe) concentrations post BH4 load. BH4 responsiveness in phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH)-deficient patients introduced a new diagnostic aspect for this test. In older children, a broad spectrum of different levels of responsiveness has been described. The primary objective of this study was to develop a pharmacodynamic model to improve the description of individual sensitivity to BH4 in the neonatal period. Secondary objectives were to evaluate BH4 responsiveness in a large number of PAH-deficient patients from a neonatal screening program and in patients with various confirmed BH4 deficiencies from the BIODEF database. Descriptive statistics in patients with PAH deficiency with 0-24-h data available showed that 129 of 340 patients (37.9%) had a >30% decrease in Phe levels post load. Patients with dihydropteridine reductase deficiency (n=53) could not be differentiated from BH4-responsive patients with PAH deficiency. The pharmacologic turnover model, "stimulation of loss" of Phe following BH4 load, fitted the data best. Using the model, 193 of 194 (99.5%) patients with a proven BH4 synthesis deficiency or recycling defect were classified as BH4 sensitive. Among patients with PAH deficiency, 216 of 375 (57.6%) patients showed sensitivity to BH4, albeit with a pronounced variability; PAH-deficient patients with blood Phe <1200μmol/L at time 0 showed higher sensitivity than patients with blood Phe levels >1200μmol/L. External validation showed good correlation between the present approach, using 0-24-h blood Phe data, and the published 48-h prognostic test. Pharmacodynamic modeling of Phe levels following a BH4 loading test is sufficiently powerful to detect a wide range of responsiveness, interpretable as a measure of sensitivity to BH4. However, the clinical relevance of small responses needs to be evaluated by further studies of their relationship to long-term response to BH4 treatment. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ymgme.2015.01.013 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In phenylketonuria, genetic heterogeneity, frequent compound heterozygosity, and the lack of functional data for phenylalanine hydroxylase genotypes hamper reliable phenotype prediction and individualised treatment. A literature search revealed 690 different phenylalanine hydroxylase genotypes in 3066 phenylketonuria patients from Europe and the Middle East. We determined phenylalanine hydroxylase function of 30 frequent homozygous and compound heterozygous genotypes covering 55% of the study population, generated activity landscapes, and assessed the phenylalanine hydroxylase working range in the metabolic (phenylalanine) and therapeutic (tetrahydrobiopterin) space. Shared patterns in genotype-specific functional landscapes were linked to biochemical and pharmacological phenotypes, where (1) residual activity below 3.5% was associated with classical phenylketonuria unresponsive to pharmacological treatment; (2) lack of defined peak activity induced loss of response to tetrahydrobiopterin; (3) a higher cofactor need was linked to inconsistent clinical phenotypes and low rates of tetrahydrobiopterin response; and (4) residual activity above 5%, a defined peak of activity, and a normal cofactor need were associated with pharmacologically treatable mild phenotypes. In addition, we provide a web application for retrieving country-specific information on genotypes and genotype-specific phenylalanine hydroxylase function that warrants continuous extension, updates, and research on demand. The combination of genotype-specific functional analyses with biochemical, clinical, and therapeutic data of individual patients may serve as a powerful tool to enable phenotype prediction and to establish personalised medicine strategies for dietary regimens and pharmacological treatment in phenylketonuria. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to
    Journal of Medical Genetics 01/2015; DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102621 · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phenylketonuria (PKU) is no longer considered merely a pediatric concern; current guidelines recommend life-long treatment. However, information on the adult PKU patient population is scarce. A survey was initiated on behalf of the European PKU Group (EPG) that focused specifically on early-treated adult patients diagnosed by neonatal screening. The online survey was sent via email to 204 healthcare professionals (HCPs) in 33 countries. Eighty-one HCPs from 24 countries responded. The main findings were that the majority of adult patients with PKU in active follow-up are under 30 years of age and are managed in centers that also treat children. Seventy-eight percent of adult PKU patients in follow-up receive treatment, mainly by diet (71 %), with BH4 treatment rarely used in adulthood. Only 26 % of responding HCPs perform routine neurocognitive testing in all their adult patients. There was little consensus regarding target blood phenylalanine (Phe) concentrations, although the majority of respondents reported that their patients achieved blood Phe concentrations below 1200 μmol/l. Conclusion: This survey highlights the need for blood Phe concentration target recommendations and consensus guidelines, more research into adult PKU patient management, and the need to identify those patients lost to follow-up to ensure PKU is managed for life.
    European Journal of Pediatrics 12/2014; 174(1). DOI:10.1007/s00431-014-2458-4 · 1.98 Impact Factor
  • Archives de Pédiatrie 08/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.arcped.2014.06.001 · 0.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epileptic encephalopathy (EE) refers to a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of severe disorders characterized by seizures, abnormal interictal electro-encephalogram, psychomotor delay, and/or cognitive deterioration. We ascertained two multiplex families (including one consanguineous family) consistent with an autosomal-recessive inheritance pattern of EE. All seven affected individuals developed subclinical seizures as early as the first day of life, severe epileptic disease, and profound developmental delay with no facial dysmorphism. Given the similarity in clinical presentation in the two families, we hypothesized that the observed phenotype was due to mutations in the same gene, and we performed exome sequencing in three affected individuals. Analysis of rare variants in genes consistent with an autosomal-recessive mode of inheritance led to identification of mutations in SLC13A5, which encodes the cytoplasmic sodium-dependent citrate carrier, notably expressed in neurons. Disease association was confirmed by cosegregation analysis in additional family members. Screening of 68 additional unrelated individuals with early-onset epileptic encephalopathy for SLC13A5 mutations led to identification of one additional subject with compound heterozygous mutations of SLC13A5 and a similar clinical presentation as the index subjects. Mutations affected key residues for sodium binding, which is critical for citrate transport. These findings underline the value of careful clinical characterization for genetic investigations in highly heterogeneous conditions such as EE and further highlight the role of citrate metabolism in epilepsy.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 07/2014; 95(1):113-20. DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2014.06.006 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Las enfermedades mitocondriales constituyen el grupo más frecuente de enfermedades hereditarias del metabolismo. El conjunto de estas anomalías afecta a uno de cada 5.000-10.000 personas, dependiendo de los estudios. Estas enfermedades se relacionan con un déficit de la fosforilación oxidativa mitocondrial, que causa un déficit energético. Se expresan sobre todo en los órganos que consumen energía (corazón, músculo, cerebro, hígado, riñón, ojo, etc.) y una asociación no coherente o «ilegítima» de la afectación tisular con anomalías bioquímicas (hiperlactacidemia) o radiológicas (resonancia magnética cerebral) debe hacer que se sospeche una enfermedad mitocondrial. Pueden manifestarse a cualquier edad, desde el período prenatal a la edad adulta. El proceso diagnóstico suele ser largo, porque la sospecha clínica debe apoyarse en argumentos biológicos, anatomopatológicos y enzimológicos antes de llegar al diagnóstico. Estas afecciones presentan una gran heterogeneidad genética. Se relacionan con mutaciones del ácido desoxirribonucleico mitocondrial o de genes nucleares, la mayoría de los cuales aún se desconocen. La identificación de estas mutaciones es importante, tanto para el diagnóstico, como para el consejo genético y el diagnóstico prenatal. El pronóstico de estas enfermedades aún sigue siendo malo, porque el tratamiento etiológico es poco eficaz en la actualidad.
    06/2014; 49(2):1–12. DOI:10.1016/S1245-1789(14)67271-1
  • Archives de Pédiatrie 05/2014; 21(5):684. DOI:10.1016/S0929-693X(14)71944-X · 0.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sapropterin dihydrochloride (SD) is the first drug treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU), but due to the lack of data, its use in maternal PKU must be undertaken with caution as noted in the FDA and EMEA labels. We collected data from eight pregnancies in PKU women treated with SD and we analysed the phenotypes of these patients, their tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) responsiveness, the indications for SD treatment, the efficacy (metabolic control, phenylalanine (Phe) tolerance and offspring outcome) and the safety data. Results showed that in the seven patients known to be responsive to BH4, the use of SD during pregnancy was efficient in terms of metabolic control and Phe tolerance. The indications for giving SD included the failure of the low-Phe diet (n = 3), the fact that some of these women had never experienced the low Phe diet (n = 2), one unexpected pregnancy in a woman currently on SD and one pregnancy where the foetus was known to have PKU. The offspring of these seven pregnancies were all normal babies with normal birth measurements and outcomes. No side effect related to SD was observed in these seven cases. In the eighth case, SD was prescribed as a rescue treatment without previous knowledge of the BH4 responsiveness to a woman who was already 8 weeks pregnant without diet. The birth occurred at 33 weeks of gestational age with Potter syndrome (probably related to the absence of metabolic control during the first trimester) and the baby died in the first hours of life. In conclusion, the data presented here provides the first evidence that treatment with pharmacological doses of SD appears to be efficient and safe in women with PKU during pregnancy. Its use should, however, be restricted to those women previously identified to be clear responders to BH4.
    Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease 05/2014; 37(5). DOI:10.1007/s10545-014-9716-5 · 4.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The first described patients with pyridox(am)ine 5'-phosphate oxidase deficiency all had neonatal onset seizures that did not respond to treatment with pyridoxine but responded to treatment with pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Our data suggest, however, that the clinical spectrum of pyridox(am)ine 5'-phosphate oxidase deficiency is much broader than has been reported in the literature. Sequencing of the PNPO gene was undertaken for a cohort of 82 individuals who had shown a reduction in frequency and severity of seizures in response to pyridoxine or pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Novel sequence changes were studied using a new cell-free expression system and a mass spectrometry-based assay for pyridoxamine phosphate oxidase. Three groups of patients with PNPO mutations that had reduced enzyme activity were identified: (i) patients with neonatal onset seizures responding to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (n = 6); (ii) a patient with infantile spasms (onset 5 months) responsive to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (n = 1); and (iii) patients with seizures starting under 3 months of age responding to pyridoxine (n = 8). Data suggest that certain genotypes (R225H/C and D33V) are more likely to result in seizures that to respond to treatment with pyridoxine. Other mutations seem to be associated with infertility, miscarriage and prematurity. However, the situation is clearly complex with the same combination of mutations being seen in patients who responded and did not respond to pyridoxine. It is possible that pyridoxine responsiveness in PNPO deficiency is affected by prematurity and age at the time of the therapeutic trial. Other additional factors that are likely to influence treatment response and outcome include riboflavin status and how well the foetus has been supplied with vitamin B6 by the mother. For some patients there was a worsening of symptoms on changing from pyridoxine to pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. Many of the mutations in PNPO affected residues involved in binding flavin mononucleotide or pyridoxal 5'-phosphate and many of them showed residual enzyme activity. One sequence change (R116Q), predicted to affect flavin mononucleotide binding and binding of the two PNPO dimers, and with high residual activity was found in Groups (ii) and (iii). This sequence change has been reported in the 1000 Genomes project suggesting it could be a polymorphism but alternatively it could be a common mutation, perhaps responsible for the susceptibility locus for genetic generalized epilepsy on 17q21.32 (close to rs72823592). We believe the reduction in PNPO activity and B6-responsive epilepsy in the patients reported here indicates that it contributes to the pathogenesis of epilepsy.
    Brain 03/2014; 137. DOI:10.1093/brain/awu051 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    Brain 01/2014; · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria is a rare genetic neurometabolic disease. It occurs in childhood with mental retardation, cerebellar ataxia, and epilepsy. Macrocephaly is present in half of the cases. Diagnosis is based on clinical symptoms, biological and radiological findings, and molecular testing. Specific treatments can improve the spontaneous progression of the disease. We examined two independent patients who presented with L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria. Clinical presentation led to cerebral MRI and urinary organic acid chromatography. The genetic analysis confirmed the diagnosis. Under specific treatment, the progression of the disease was subsequently stopped. L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria shares common symptoms with other genetic and metabolic diseases. However, the association of a distinct phenotype and typical MRI abnormalities (such as a high signal in the subcortical white matter, pallidum, and dentate nuclei) should draw the clinician's attention to this diagnosis. It can easily be suspected with a simple urinary analysis and can then be confirmed by genetic testing. With this case report, we show the importance of genetic identification to begin treatment with riboflavin. Early detection of L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria based on MRI abnormalities can enable rapid initiation of treatment and prevent disease progression.
    Archives de Pédiatrie 12/2013; · 0.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with phenylketonuria (PKU) encompass an 'at risk' group for micronutrient imbalances. Optimal nutrient status is challenging particularly when a substantial proportion of nutrient intake is from non-natural sources. In PKU patients following dietary treatment, supplementation with micronutrients is a necessity and vitamins and minerals should either be added to supplement phenylalanine-free l-amino acids or given separately. In this literature review of papers published since 1990, the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiency is described, with reference to age of treatment commencement, type of treatment, dietary compliance, and dietary practices. Biological micronutrient inadequacies have been mainly reported for zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin B12 and folate. The aetiology of these results and possible clinical and biological implications are discussed. In PKU there is not a simple relationship between the dietary intake and nutritional status, and there are many independent and interrelated complex factors that should be considered other than quantitative nutritional intake.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 09/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.ymgme.2013.09.009 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fluctuations in blood phenylalanine concentrations may be an important determinant of intellectual outcome in patients with early and continuously treated phenylketonuria (PKU). This review evaluates the studies on phenylalanine fluctuations, factors affecting fluctuations, and if stabilizing phenylalanine concentrations affects outcomes, particularly neurocognitive outcome. Electronic literature searches of Embase and PubMed were performed for English-language publications, and the bibliographies of identified publications were also searched. In patients with PKU, phenylalanine concentrations are highest in the morning. Factors that can affect phenylalanine fluctuations include age, diet, timing and dosing of protein substitute and energy intake, dietary adherence, phenylalanine hydroxylase genotype, changes in dietary phenylalanine intake and protein metabolism, illness, and growth rate. Even distribution of phenylalanine-free protein substitute intake throughout 24h may reduce blood phenylalanine fluctuations. Patients responsive to and treated with 6R-tetrahydrobiopterin seem to have less fluctuation in their blood phenylalanine concentrations than controls. An increase in blood phenylalanine concentration may result in increased brain and cerebrospinal fluid phenylalanine concentrations within hours. Although some evidence suggests that stabilization of blood phenylalanine concentrations may have benefits in patients with PKU, more studies are needed to distinguish the effects of blood phenylalanine fluctuations from those of poor metabolic control.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 09/2013; 110(4). DOI:10.1016/j.ymgme.2013.09.001 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In our phenylketonuria (PKU) cohort of 120 patients, we uncovered a couple of cases of undiagnosed mild phenylketonuria (mPKU)/hyperphenylalaninemia (mHPA) in maternal parents of the PKU cohort. This finding prompted us to evaluate the risk of either mild phenylketonuria or mild hyperphenylalaninemia in the parent population whose children were diagnosed with hyperphenylalaninemia (HPA). Taking into account the phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) mutation carrier frequency and the PAH mild mutation rate, we estimated that the prevalence of the parental mPKU/mHPA varied widely, from 1/74 in Turkey to 1/708 in Lithuania. The benefits of the parental detection procedure described here are the prevention of further maternal PKU syndrome, the follow-up of the newly detected patients and the accuracy of the genetic counseling provided to these families. This very simple procedure should be incorporated into neonatal PKU management of the hospitals in countries where a routine systematic neonatal screening is operational.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 09/2013; 110. DOI:10.1016/j.ymgme.2013.08.014 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For almost all patients with PKU, a low phenylalanine diet is the basis of the treatment despite a widely varying natural protein tolerance. A vitamin and mineral supplement is essential and it is commonly added to a phenylalanine-free (phe-free) source of l-amino acids. In PKU, many phe-free l-amino acid supplements have age-specific vitamin and mineral profiles to meet individual requirements. The main micronutrient sources are chemically derived and their delivery dosage is usually advised in three or more doses throughout the day. Within the EU, the composition of VM (vitamin and mineral) phe-free l-amino acid supplements is governed by the Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) directive (European Commission Directive number 1999/21/EC and amended by Directive 2006/141/EC). However the micronutrient composition of the majority fails to remain within FSMP micronutrient maximum limits per 100kcal due to their low energy content and so compositional exceptions to the FSMP directive have to be granted for each supplement. All patients with PKU require an annual nutritional follow-up, until it has been proven that they are not at risk of any vitamin and mineral imbalances. When non-dietary treatments are used to either replace or act as an adjunct to diet therapy, the quality of micronutrient intake should still be considered important and monitored systematically. European guidelines are required about which micronutrients should be measured and the conditions (fasting status) for monitoring.
    Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 08/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.ymgme.2013.08.008 · 2.83 Impact Factor
  • F Feillet, C Bonnemains
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    ABSTRACT: Low phenylalanine diet has been the key treatment of phenylketonuria for more than 50years, allowing efficient management of thousands of PKU patients to date. However, non-compliance exists, mainly after adolescence. A medication for PKU received approval in Europe in 2009 (sapropterine dihydrochloride or Kuvan(®)) and can benefit to patients responsive to this drug. Other treatment options are available in some countries (glycomacropeptides, large neutral amino acids) or are currently under investigation (phenylalanine ammonia lyase, chaperones molecules, gene therapy).
    Archives de Pédiatrie 07/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.arcped.2013.06.021 · 0.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cblG and cblC disorders of cobalamin (Cbl) metabolism are two inherited causes of megaloblastic anemia. In cblG, mutations in methionine synthase (MTR) decrease conversion of HOCbl to MeCbl, while in cblC, mutations in MMACHC disrupt formation of cob(II)alamin (detected as HOCbl). Cases with undetectable methionine synthase (MS) activity are extremely rare and classified as 'cblG-variant'. In 4 'cblG-variant' cases we observed a decreased conversion of CNCbl to HOCbl that is also seen in cblC cases. To explore this observation, we studied the gene defects, splicing products and expression of MS, as well as MS/MMACHC protein interactions in cblG-variant, cblG, cblC and control fibroblasts. We observed a full size MS encoded by MTR-001 and a 124&emsp14;kDa truncated MS encoded by MTR-201 in cblG, cblC, control fibroblasts, and HEK cells, but only the MTR-201 transcript and inactive truncated MS in cblG-variant cells. Co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assay showed interaction between truncated MS and MMACHC in cblG-variant cells. This interaction decreased 2.2, 1.5 and 5.0-fold in proximity ligation assay of cblC cells with p.R161Q and p.R206W mutations, and HEK cells with knock down expression of MS by siRNA respectively, when compared to control cells. In 3-D modelling and docking analysis, both truncated and full size MS provide a loop anchored to MMACHC, which makes contacts with R-161 and R-206 residues. Our data suggest that the interaction of MS with MMACHC may play a role in the regulation of the cellular processing of cobalamins that is required for Cbl cofactor synthesis.
    Human Molecular Genetics 07/2013; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddt308 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:Sapropterin dihydrochloride, the synthetic form of 6R-tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), is an approved drug for the treatment of patients with BH4-responsive phenylketonuria (PKU). The purpose of this study was to assess genotypes and data on the long-term effects of BH4/sapropterin on metabolic control and patient-related outcomes in 6 large European countries.METHODS:A questionnaire was developed to assess phenotype, genotype, blood phenylalanine (Phe) levels, Phe tolerance, quality of life, mood changes, and adherence to diet in PKU patients from 16 medical centers.RESULTS:One hundred forty-seven patients, of whom 41.9% had mild hyperphenylalaninemia, 50.7% mild PKU, and 7.4% classic PKU, were followed up over ≤12 years. A total of 85 different genotypes were reported. With the exception of two splice variants, all of the most common mutations were reported to be associated with substantial residual Phe hydroxylase activity. Median Phe tolerance increased 3.9 times with BH4/sapropterin therapy, compared with dietary treatment, and median Phe blood concentrations were within the therapeutic range in all patients. Compared with diet alone, improvement in quality of life was reported in 49.6% of patients, improvement in adherence to diet was reported in 47% of patients, and improvement in adherence to treatment was reported in 63.3% of patients. No severe adverse events were reported.CONCLUSIONS:Our data document a long-term beneficial effect of orally administered BH4/sapropterin in responsive PKU patients by improving the metabolic control, increasing daily tolerance for dietary Phe intake, and for some, by improving dietary adherence and quality of life. Patient genotypes help in predicting BH4 responsiveness.
    PEDIATRICS 05/2013; 131(6). DOI:10.1542/peds.2012-3291 · 5.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Three international surveys were developed aiming to identify the current nutrition educational tools used in the management of phenylketonuria (PKU) and the perceived effectiveness of these tools by clinicians, parents and patients. METHODS: The first two surveys were distributed through the Metabolic Dietitians ListServe (, and the third survey was distributed by international clinics and the National PKU Alliance website ( A total of 888 responses (S1, n = 88; S2, n = 81; S3, n = 719) were collected from all three surveys. The surveys represent participants from 17 countries, in Europe; North America (USA and Canada); Mexico; Argentina; Turkey; Australia; and Africa (Tunisia). RESULTS: A consistent decline in 'parents as role models' as an educational tool was observed starting at age 10 years. Patients responded they feel their families are the most effective form of education, whereas handouts were selected as the least effective educational tool by patients. Parents responded they feel the most effective educational tool is one-on-one counselling. Patients and parents show a desirable trend in wanting to attend group clinic, even in centres where this type of educational tool is not offered. CONCLUSIONS: There was a discrepancy between clinicians and patient views regarding the perceived effectiveness of the nutrition education tools. Future research is needed surrounding the impact nutrition education may have on improved dietary compliance in patients with PKU.
    Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 04/2013; 27. DOI:10.1111/jhn.12065 · 2.07 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
343.93 Total Impact Points


  • 1999–2014
    • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nancy
      • Laboratoire Génétique
      Nancy, Lorraine, France
  • 2013
    • Centre Hospitalier Belfort-Montbéliard
      Montoeliard, Franche-Comté, France
    • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Dijon
      Dijon, Bourgogne, France
  • 2010
    • Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2000
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France