National Institutes of Health
- The primary NIH organization for research on Tay-Sachs Disease is the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Tay-Sachs disease is a rare, inherited disorder. It causes too much of a fatty substance to build up in tissues and nerve cells of the brain. This buildup destroys the nerve cells, causing mental and physical problems.
Infants with Tay-Sachs disease appear to develop normally for the first few months of life. Then, as nerve cells become distended with fatty material, mental and physical abilities deteriorate. The child becomes blind, deaf, and unable to swallow. Muscles begin to atrophy and paralysis sets in. Even with the best of care, children with Tay-Sachs disease usually die by age 4.
Tay-Sachs is most common in Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews. A blood test can determine if you carry or have the disease. There is no cure. Medicines and good nutrition can help some symptoms. Some children need feeding tubes.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)