Turit disease, also known as hereditary geriatric neuromuscular atrophy, is a genetic disorder. The disease is characterized by an accelerated loss of muscle and motor neurons, particularly in the extremities, usually later in life. The disease has no known cure, though there are treatments to mitigate the symptoms. It is a very rare disorder, most often found among the True Amarr, though some Minmatar carry the genes to cause it as well.
Turit disease has been known by the Amarr since ancient times. It is named after a saint who was reputed to have suffered from the condition. For thousands of years, it was primarily known as afflicting the Holder class, as they had sufficient life expectancy to allow symptoms to become apparent. The Scriptures also include several cases of commoners suffering from the effects of Turit and using the condition as proof of noble lineage. However, as common Amarr began to live longer the disease began to manifest more frequently and thus became understood as egalitarian.
Medical research eventually characterized Turit as a genetic disease caused by a specific combination of recessive genes that must all be in conjunction before it manifests. Numerous attempts have been made to cure the disease, but none have proven successful. Genetic engineering has been proposed as a possible solution, but the Amarr consider such practices abhorrent.
In recent centuries, it has been discovered that some Minmatar carry the disease as well. It is generally assumed the Minmatar acquired the genes during their period of enslavement to the Amarr, although the Amarr scientific community has repeatedly refused to comment on their findings in this area.
Turit disease is caused by a combination of recessive genes that are native mutations to the True Amarr bloodline. Seven genes must be inherited from both parents, making the disease very uncommon. It is estimated that only one in 500,000,000 True Amarr suffer from the condition.
The symptoms of Turit disease primarily manifest later in life, usually after the age of seventy. On rare occasions, it afflicts those in their mid-to-late thirties. It is characterized by the sudden atrophy of muscles and motor neurons in the body beginning with the extremities and gradually progressing inward toward the lungs and heart, at which point it is fatal. Sufferers generally begin reporting difficulty moving the fingers and toes without a corresponding loss of sensation. The loss of movement travels up the arms and legs until it reaches the torso, where progress typically slows. Eventually, the disease begins to affect the heart and lungs, resulting in difficulty breathing and perpetual light headedness. Typically, secondary infections such as pneumonia set in, causing death. Sufficient medical treatment can halt these infections, but eventually either the lungs or heart are so atrophied that they can no longer properly function.
Turit disease has no known cure, although symptoms can be managed and the disease's progression inhibited to a certain degree. A cocktail of drugs can be used to strengthen muscles and slow neuron decay. Regular exercise has also been shown to counteract onset in younger sufferers.
The Amarr have long used cybernetic implants and prosthetics to combat the effects of the disease. This is quite expensive and is typically only used by Holders and other wealthy members of society such as capsuleers. However, it does not prevent the disease from eventually claiming the life of the sufferer, as the brain itself will eventually atrophy. This does not occur in most cases, as the sufferer has died long before the brain begins to decay.
A simple genetic test can detect the genes that cause Turit disease. Because of the rareness of the condition, however, the test is very uncommonly performed until the disease has progressed into the arms and legs.
Many Amarr have suffered from Turit disease throughout history. Most significantly, Emperor Heideran VII was afflicted by it, though the extensive medical implant technology of the Amarr allowed him to live an extended life as he was one of the longest reigning emperors in history. The disease is named after St. Turit, who suffered from the disease in the early days of the Empire.