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Tay-Sachs Disease

Tay-Sachs Disease Symptoms and Causes

Tay-Sachs is a deadly genetic disease of the nervous system caused by a defective gene on chromosome 15. When both parents carry the defective Tay-Sachs gene, a child has a 25% chance of developing the disease. Anyone can be a carrier of Tay-Sachs, but the disease is most common among the Ashkenazi Jewish population. Symptoms of Tay-Sachs usually appear when the child is 3 to 6 months old. The disease tends to get worse quickly, and those affected typically die by age 4 or 5. Chromosomal problems like Tay-Sachs, as well as genetic diseases like Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis, can be detected by amniocentesis.