Skip secondary menu

NINDS Joubert Syndrome Information Page


Table of Contents (click to jump to sections)


Listen to this page using ReadSpeaker


What is Joubert Syndrome?

Joubert syndrome is a rare brain malformation characterized by the absence or underdevelopment of the cerebellar vermis - an area of the brain that controls balance and coordination -- as well as a malformed brain stem (molar tooth sign). The most common features of Joubert syndrome in infants include abnormally rapid breathing (hyperpnea), decreased muscle tone (hypotonia), abnormal eye movements, mental retardation, and the inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements (ataxia). Physical deformities may be present, such as extra fingers and toes (polydactyly), cleft lip or palate, and tongue abnormalities. Kidney and liver abnormalities can develop, and seizures may also occur.. Many cases of Joubert syndrome appear to be sporadic (not inherited). In most other cases, Joubert syndrome is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner (meaning both parents must have a copy of the mutation) via mutation in at least 10 different genes, including NPHP1, AHI1, and CEP290.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment for Joubert syndrome is symptomatic and supportive. Infant stimulation and physical, occupational, and speech therapy may benefit some children. Infants with abnormal breathing patterns should be monitored. Screening for progressive eye, liver, and kidney complications associated with Joubert-related disorders should be performed on a regular basis.

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for infants with Joubert syndrome depends on whether or not the cerebellar vermis is partially developed or entirely absent, as well as on the extent and severity of other organ involvement, such as the kidneys and liver.. Some children have a mild form of the disorder, with minimal motor disability and good mental development, while others may have severe motor disability, moderate mental retardation, and multi-organ impairments.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on the development of the nervous system and the cerebellum. This research is critical for increasing our understanding of Joubert syndrome, and for developing methods of treatment and prevention. NINDS, in conjunction with the NIH Office of Rare Disorders, sponsored a symposium on Joubert syndrome in 2002. Research priorities for the disorder were outlined at this meeting.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Joubert Syndrome Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
Joubert Syndrome Foundation & Related Cerebellar Disorders
414 Hungerford Drive
Suite 252
Rockville, MD   20850
info@jsfrcd.org
http://www.jsfrcd.org
Tel: 614-864-1362

The Arc of the United States
1825 K Street, NW
Suite 1200
Washington, DC   20006
Info@thearc.org
http://www.thearc.org
Tel: 202-534-3700 800-433-5255
Fax: 202-534-3731

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

 
Related NINDS Publications and Information


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated December 23, 2013