Angelman syndrome (AS) is a genetic condition that causes problems with the way a child's body and brain develop. The syndrome is present from birth (congenital). However, it often isn't diagnosed until about 6 to 12 months of age. This is usually when development problems are first noticed.
This condition involves the gene UBE3A. Most genes come in pairs. We inherit one from our mother and one from our father. Usually, both genes are active. This means information from both genes is used by our cells. With the UB3A gene, both parents pass it on, but only the gene passed on from the mother is active.
Angelman syndrome usually occurs because the UBE3A gene passed on from the mother doesn't work the way it should. In some cases, AS is caused when two copies of the UBE3A gene come from the father, and none come from the mother. This means neither gene is active, because they both come from the father.
In newborns and infants:
In toddlers and older children:
Most children with this disorder don't show symptoms until about 6-12 months. This is when parents may notice a delay in their child's development, such as not crawling or starting to talk.
Children between two and five years of age start to show symptoms such as jerky walking, happy personality, laughing often, no speech, and intellectual problems.
Genetic tests may diagnose Angelman syndrome. These tests look for:
Other tests may include:
There is no cure for Angelman syndrome. Treatment helps to manage health and development problems caused by the condition.
Angelman Syndrome Foundation: www.angelman.org
Nina Foundation: www.ninafoundation.eu
People with AS live close to a normal lifespan. Many have friendships and interact socially. Treatment helps improve function, but people with AS can't live on their own. However, they may be able to learn certain tasks and live with others in a supervised group home.
Call your health care provider if your child has symptoms of this condition.
There is no way to prevent Angelman syndrome. If you have a child with AS or a family history of the condition, you may want to talk with your health care provider before becoming pregnant.
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Updated by: Charles A. Williams, MD, Professor, Division of Genetics and Metabolism, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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