What is Rett Syndrome?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jan 07, 2013

Rett syndrome is a complex neurobiological disorder of development in which an infant seems to grow and develop normally at first, but then stops developing and even loses skills and abilities.

For instance, they stop talking, even though they used to say certain words.They lose their ability to walk properly,even though they used to walk normally.They stop using their hands to do things, even though they had already started to grab and point. They often develop stereotyped hand movements, such as wringing, clapping, or patting their hands. They stop responding to and interacting with others normally, even though they used to smile at others and follow them with their eyes.


Until recently, researchers thought that Rett syndrome affected only females, but they now know that Rett syndrome affects a few males as well2. Because the number of males with Rett syndrome is very small, most of the statistics and research on Rett syndrome are specific to females.

Although many people with Rett syndrome live into their 40s and 50s, their lives are not easy. Many of them can’t walk or talk, but can communicate with their eyes. Most need special education, diets, and treatments for their various problems.

The pattern, or sequence, of your genes is like a blueprint that tells your body how to build its different parts. For example, your genes control how tall you are, what color your hair and eyes are, and other features of your body and mind. Changes, or mutations, in that blueprint can cause changes in how your body or mind grows and develops.



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