A family found hope at UF Health for treating a child’s rare genetic condition.
By Morgan Sherburne
Just a few weeks into Laura Tobia’s life, she started crying and didn’t stop until she was a toddler.
Later, physicians told Laura’s parents that Laura, now 9, was probably suffering from neurological colic — meaning her nervous system was constantly being stimulated.
“She was miserable for two years,” said Marla Tobia, Laura’s mother.
This explanation came years after caring for a child who couldn’t get comfortable. It came after years of the Tobias searching for the name of an illness that caused that discomfort — an illness that, after the crying resolved, brought on a whole new set of symptoms: what the Tampa family calls “the wiggles.”
When Laura was 2, she began experiencing bouts of movements similar to Parkinson’s. Some bouts were more severe than others.
When a bout of the big wiggles comes on, Laura looks like she’s having a seizure, but she’s fully aware of what’s happening.