Tay-Sachs Disease

By Marissa Louttit

What is Tay-Sachs?

Tay-Sachs disease is a fatal genetic lipid storage disorder in which harmful quantities of a fatty substance calledganglioside GM2 build up in tissues and nerve cells in the brain. The condition is caused by insufficient activity of an enzyme called beta-hexosaminidase A that catalyzes the biodegradation of acidic fatty materials known as gangliosides. Gangliosides are made and biodegraded rapidly in early life as the brain develops.

Who Discovered Tay-Sachs

Tay-Sachs disease was discovered and named after by Warren Tay and Bernard Sachs in the late 19th century. While they did not work together, they both described the disease and how to diagnose it in the same way, and they both reported their findings around the same time.

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