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    Tay Sachs Disease

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Tay Sachs Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    • Amaurotic Familial Idiocy
    • Amaurotic Familial Infantile Idiocy
    • Cerebromacular Degeneration
    • GM2 Gangliosidosis, Type 1
    • Hexoaminidase Alpha-Subunit Deficiency (Variant B)
    • Infantile Cerebral Ganglioside
    • Infantile Sipoidosis GM-2 Gangliosideosis (Type S)
    • Lipidosis, ganglioside, infantile
    • Sphingolipidosis, Tay-Sachs

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • None

    General Discussion

    Tay-Sachs disease is a rare, neurodegenerative disorder in which deficiency of an enzyme (hexosaminidase A) results in excessive accumulation of certain fats (lipids) known as gangliosides in the brain and nerve cells. This abnormal accumulation of gangliosides leads to progressive dysfunction of the central nervous system. This disorder is categorized as a lysosomal storage disease. Lysosomes are the major digestive units in cells. Enzymes within lysosomes break down or "digest" nutrients, including certain complex carbohydrates and fats.

    Symptoms associated with Tay-Sachs disease may include an exaggerated startle response to sudden noises, listlessness, loss of previously acquired skills (i.e., psychomotor regression), and severely diminished muscle tone (hypotonia). With disease progression, affected infants and children may develop cherry-red spots within the middle layer of the eyes, gradual loss of vision, and deafness, increasing muscle stiffness and restricted movements (spasticity), eventual paralysis, uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain (seizures), and deterioration of cognitive processes (dementia). The classical form of Tay-Sachs disease occurs during infancy; an adult form (late-onset Tay-Sachs disease) may occur anytime from adolescence to the mid 30's.

    Tay-Sachs disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The disorder results from changes (mutations) of a gene known as the HEXA gene, which regulates production of the hexosaminidase A enzyme. The HEXA gene has been mapped to the long arm (q) of chromosome 15 (15q23-q24).

    Resources

    CLIMB (Children Living with Inherited Metabolic Diseases)
    Climb Building
    176 Nantwich Road
    Crewe, CW2 6BG
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 4408452412173
    Fax: 4408452412174
    Email: enquiries@climb.org.uk
    Internet: http://www.CLIMB.org.uk

    National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association, Inc.
    2001 Beacon Street
    204
    Brookline, MA 02146-4227
    USA
    Tel: (617)277-4463
    Fax: (617)277-0134
    Tel: (800)906-8723
    Email: info@ntsad.org
    Internet: http://www.NTSAD.org

    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
    White Plains, NY 10605
    Tel: (914)997-4488
    Fax: (914)997-4763
    Tel: (888)663-4637
    Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
    Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

    NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda, MD 20824
    Tel: (301)496-5751
    Fax: (301)402-2186
    Tel: (800)352-9424
    TDD: (301)468-5981
    Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

    Canadian Society for Mucopolysaccharide and Related Diseases, Inc.
    PO Box 30034
    RPO Parkgate
    North Vancouver
    British Columbia, V7H 2Y8
    Canada
    Tel: 6049245130
    Fax: 6049245131
    Tel: 8006671846
    Email: info@mpssociety.ca
    Internet: http://www.mpssociety.ca

    NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
    31 Center Dr
    Building 31, Room 2A32
    MSC2425
    Bethesda, MD 20892
    Fax: (866)760-5947
    Tel: (800)370-2943
    TDD: (888)320-6942
    Email: NICHDInformationResourceCenter@mail.nih.gov
    Internet: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    Instituto de Errores Innatos del Metabolismo
    Carrera 7 No 40 - 62
    Bogota,
    Colombia
    Tel: 5713208320
    Email: abarrera@javeriana.edu.co
    Internet: http://www.javeriana.edu.co/ieim/programas_ieim.htm

    Madisons Foundation
    PO Box 241956
    Los Angeles, CA 90024
    Tel: (310)264-0826
    Fax: (310)264-4766
    Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
    Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

    Let Them Hear Foundation
    1900 University Avenue, Suite 101
    East Palo Alto, CA 94303
    Tel: (650)462-3174
    Fax: (650)462-3144
    Email: info@letthemhear.org
    Internet: http://www.letthemhear.org

    Hide & Seek Foundation for Lysosomal Disease Research
    6475 East Pacific Coast Highway Suite 466
    Long Beach, CA 90803
    Tel: (877)621-1122
    Fax: (866)215-8850
    Email: info@hideandseek.org
    Internet: http://www.hideandseek.org

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 1/21/2008
    Copyright 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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