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5 Things to Know About the Genetic Condition Rett Syndrome

Rett syndrome is a severe genetic disorder that affects the way the brain develops, causing progressive disability of the muscles. It almost exclusively affects females, and occurs in an estimated 1 in 12,000 girls born each year.

Due to its rarity, the condition may be challenging to identify early on in a child’s life, as they tend to grow and develop normally for the first six to 18 months. Read on to find out more about Rhett syndrome, including symptoms to be mindful of, how it’s diagnosed, and potential treatment options.

1. Symptoms

Although Rett syndrome is something a child is born with, most babies tend to grow and behave normally for the first six months. After that, signs and symptoms may begin to appear, either suddenly or slowly.

Slowed development is generally the first stage of the condition, and, according to the NHS, can include low muscle tone, difficulty feeding, abnormal hand movements, delayed speech development, mobility problems, and a lack of interest in toys. These symptoms occur as a result of the brain not growing properly, which is often visible in that the head is smaller than normal (known as microcephaly).

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