Sandhoff disease is a rare, genetic, lipid storage disorder resulting in the progressive deterioration of the central nervous system. It is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme beta-hexosaminidase, which results in the accumulation of certain fats (lipids) in the brain and other organs of the body. Sandhoff disease is a severe form of Tay-Sachs disease--which is prevalent primarily in people of Eastern European and Ashkenazi Jewish descent--but it is not limited to any ethnic group. Onset of the disorder usually occurs at 6 months of age. Neurological symptoms may include motor weakness, startle reaction to sound, early blindness, progressive mental and motor deterioration, macrocephaly (an abnormally enlarged head), cherry-red spots in the eyes, seizures, and myoclonus (shock-like contractions of a muscle). Other symptoms may include frequent respiratory infections, doll-like facial appearance, and an enlarged liver and spleen.
|National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases Association
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|National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
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Danbury, CT 06810
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Last updated October 6, 2011