Angelman syndrome is a complex genetic disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. Characteristic features of this condition include developmental delay, intellectual disability, severe speech impairment, and problems with movement and balance (ataxia). Most affected children also have recurrent seizures (epilepsy) and a small head size (microcephaly). Delayed development becomes noticeable by the age of 6 to 12 months, and other common signs and symptoms usually appear in early childhood.
Children with Angelman syndrome typically have a happy, excitable demeanor with frequent smiling, laughter, and hand-flapping movements. Hyperactivity and a short attention span are common. Most affected children also have difficulty sleeping and need less sleep than usual. Some affected individuals have unusually fair skin and light-colored hair.
With age, people with Angelman syndrome become less excitable, and the sleeping problems tend to improve. However, affected individuals continue to have intellectual disability, severe speech impairment, and seizures throughout their lives. Adults with Angelman syndrome have distinctive facial features that are described as "coarse." Some also develop an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine (scoliosis). The life expectancy of people with this condition appears to be nearly normal.
Last edited by Lady GaGa; 12-04-2010 at 05:10 PM.
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