Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Disease Information Page

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Disease Information Page


What research is being done?

The NINDS supports and conducts research on TSEs, including GSS. Much of this research is aimed at characterizing the agents that cause these disorders, clarifying the mechanisms underlying them, and, ultimately, finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Genetic Brain Disorders

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What research is being done?

The NINDS supports and conducts research on TSEs, including GSS. Much of this research is aimed at characterizing the agents that cause these disorders, clarifying the mechanisms underlying them, and, ultimately, finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Genetic Brain Disorders

The NINDS supports and conducts research on TSEs, including GSS. Much of this research is aimed at characterizing the agents that cause these disorders, clarifying the mechanisms underlying them, and, ultimately, finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Genetic Brain Disorders

Search Disorders

Definition
Definition
Treatment
Treatment
Prognosis
Prognosis
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials
Organizations
Organizations
Publications
Publications
Definition
Definition

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is an extremely rare, neurodegenerative brain disorder. It is almost always inherited and is found in only a few families around the world. Onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. In the early stages, patients may experience varying levels of ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), including clumsiness, unsteadiness, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses, the ataxia becomes more pronounced and most patients develop dementia. Other symptoms may include dysarthria (slurring of speech), nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyes), spasticity (rigid muscle tone), and visual disturbances, sometimes leading to blindness. Deafness also can occur. In some families, parkinsonian features are present. GSS belongs to a family of human and animal diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other TSEs include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, and fatal familial insomnia.

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Definition

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is an extremely rare, neurodegenerative brain disorder. It is almost always inherited and is found in only a few families around the world. Onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. In the early stages, patients may experience varying levels of ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), including clumsiness, unsteadiness, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses, the ataxia becomes more pronounced and most patients develop dementia. Other symptoms may include dysarthria (slurring of speech), nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyes), spasticity (rigid muscle tone), and visual disturbances, sometimes leading to blindness. Deafness also can occur. In some families, parkinsonian features are present. GSS belongs to a family of human and animal diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other TSEs include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, and fatal familial insomnia.

Treatment
Treatment

There is no cure for GSS, nor are there any known treatments to slow progression of the disease. Current therapies are aimed at alleviating symptoms and making the patient as comfortable as possible.

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Treatment

There is no cure for GSS, nor are there any known treatments to slow progression of the disease. Current therapies are aimed at alleviating symptoms and making the patient as comfortable as possible.

Definition
Definition

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is an extremely rare, neurodegenerative brain disorder. It is almost always inherited and is found in only a few families around the world. Onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. In the early stages, patients may experience varying levels of ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), including clumsiness, unsteadiness, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses, the ataxia becomes more pronounced and most patients develop dementia. Other symptoms may include dysarthria (slurring of speech), nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyes), spasticity (rigid muscle tone), and visual disturbances, sometimes leading to blindness. Deafness also can occur. In some families, parkinsonian features are present. GSS belongs to a family of human and animal diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other TSEs include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, and fatal familial insomnia.

Treatment
Treatment

There is no cure for GSS, nor are there any known treatments to slow progression of the disease. Current therapies are aimed at alleviating symptoms and making the patient as comfortable as possible.

Prognosis
Prognosis

GSS is a slowly progressive condition usually lasting from 2 to 10 years. The disease ultimately causes severe disability and finally death, often after the patient goes into a coma or has a secondary infection such as aspiration pneumonia due to an impaired ability to swallow.

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GSS is a slowly progressive condition usually lasting from 2 to 10 years. The disease ultimately causes severe disability and finally death, often after the patient goes into a coma or has a secondary infection such as aspiration pneumonia due to an impaired ability to swallow.

Prognosis
Prognosis

GSS is a slowly progressive condition usually lasting from 2 to 10 years. The disease ultimately causes severe disability and finally death, often after the patient goes into a coma or has a secondary infection such as aspiration pneumonia due to an impaired ability to swallow.

Definition

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is an extremely rare, neurodegenerative brain disorder. It is almost always inherited and is found in only a few families around the world. Onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 55. In the early stages, patients may experience varying levels of ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), including clumsiness, unsteadiness, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses, the ataxia becomes more pronounced and most patients develop dementia. Other symptoms may include dysarthria (slurring of speech), nystagmus (involuntary movements of the eyes), spasticity (rigid muscle tone), and visual disturbances, sometimes leading to blindness. Deafness also can occur. In some families, parkinsonian features are present. GSS belongs to a family of human and animal diseases known as the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other TSEs include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, and fatal familial insomnia.

Treatment

There is no cure for GSS, nor are there any known treatments to slow progression of the disease. Current therapies are aimed at alleviating symptoms and making the patient as comfortable as possible.

Prognosis

GSS is a slowly progressive condition usually lasting from 2 to 10 years. The disease ultimately causes severe disability and finally death, often after the patient goes into a coma or has a secondary infection such as aspiration pneumonia due to an impaired ability to swallow.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports and conducts research on TSEs, including GSS. Much of this research is aimed at characterizing the agents that cause these disorders, clarifying the mechanisms underlying them, and, ultimately, finding ways to prevent, treat, and cure them.

Information from the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus
Genetic Brain Disorders

Patient Organizations
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 5C27 MSC 2292
Bethesda
MD
Bethesda, MD 20892-2292
Tel: 301-496-1752; 800-222-2225; 800-222-4225 (TTY)
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury
CT
Danbury, CT 06810
Tel: 203-744-0100; Voice Mail: 800-999-NORD (6673)
Patient Organizations