Tay Sachs Disease

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Tay Sachs Disease is not the name you expected.

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).

Supporting Organizations

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
Website: http://www.CLIMB.org.uk

Canadian Society for Mucopolysaccharide and Related Diseases, Inc.

#218-2055 Commercial Drive
Vancouver, BC V5N 0C7
Canada
Tel: (604) 924-5130
Tel: 1-800-667-1846
Email: info@mpssociety.ca
Website: http://www.mpssociety.ca

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
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

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
Website: http://www.hideandseek.org

Instituto de Errores Innatos del Metabolismo

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Ed. Jesús Emilio
Ramírez (53) Laboratorios 305A - 303
Bogota,
Colombia
Tel: 5713208320
Email: abarrera@javeriana.edu.co
Website: http://www.javeriana.edu.co/ieim/programas_ieim.htm

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
Website: http://www.letthemhear.org

March of Dimes

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Email: AskUs@marchofdimes.org or preguntas@nacersano.org
Website: http://www.marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org

NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

31 Center Dr
Building 31, Room 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892
Fax: (866)760-5947
Tel: (800)370-2943
Email: NICHDInformationResourceCenter@mail.nih.gov
Website: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/

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
Website: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

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
Website: http://www.NTSAD.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, 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.

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.

Last Updated:  1/21/2008
Copyright  2002 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.