Tay-Sachs is marked by developmental problems that start early and gradually get worse. Symptoms include paralysis, mental confusion, blindness and red spots in the retina at the back of the eye.
Causes and Risk Factors
A recessive gene is at the root of this disorder. (When a gene is recessive, it means that a child must inherit the gene from both parents for the condition to develop.) The gene is more common in Jewish families of Eastern European heritage. Tay-Sachs patients lack a certain enzyme that causes problems in the brain. (An enzyme is a type of complex protein produced by the cells that helps start certain biological and chemical reactions inside the body.)