Tay Sachs Disease

By: Noah, Scott, and Josiah


Symptoms first appear 3-6 months after birth. Common signs include loss of motor skills, regression of learning, and cherry-red spots in the eyes. As the disease progresses, the child will begin to experiences hallucinations, seizures, paralysis, and loss of senses. Those affected normally live for 2 to 5 years, although there are very rare forms of Tay Sachs that begin to show their full effect in adolescence or adulthood.


Tay Sachs is caused by a lack of enzyme HEXA, which is created by the 15th chromosome. HEXA is supposed to break down the GM2 ganglioside. Without it, the ganglioside builds up and causes death of neurons.

Demographics Commonly Affected

Tay Sachs disproportionately affects the Jewish, Louisiana Cajun, Irish, and French-Canadian populations.


Tay sachs is passed resessivley on a mutation of the 15th chromosome. Carriers have a 25% chance of passing the disease to their children and have a 50% of them being carriers. A child has to have 2 faulty genes in order too have the disease, while having one faulty and one fine the child is ok.


Bernard Sachs and Warren Tay discovered Tay Sachs in 1881. They spent the next 6 years detailing the genetic nature and cellular processes of the disease.

Other names include:

  • B variant GM2 gangliosidosis
  • GM2 gangliosidosis, type 1
  • HexA deficiency
  • Hexosaminidase A deficiency
  • Hexosaminidase alpha-subunit deficiency (variant B)
  • Sphingolipidosis, Tay-Sachs
  • TSD


There are currently no treatments for Tay Sachs, but a cure is of course under constant research from multitudes of organizations.


The birth rate for childern affected with Tay Sachs is under 20,000 cases a year.

The life expectancy for a child with Tay Sachs is around 3-5 years with the average being closer to 3. Symptoms begin about 3-6 months after birth.


"Tay-Sachs Disease." Genetics Home Reference. Health on the Net Foundation, 9 Nov. 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/tay-sachs-disease>.

"Tay-Sachs Disease." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Aug. 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024672/>.

"Tay-sachs Disease." Tay-Sachs Disease. National Tay-sachs Disease & Allied Diseases Association of Delaware Valley, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.tay-sachs.org/taysachs_disease.php>.

"NTSAD - Tay-Sachs." Tay-Sachs. NTSAD, 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.ntsad.org/index.php/tay-sachs>.

"Tay-Sachs Disease." Tay-Sachs Disease. Mayo Clinic, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tay-sachs-disease/basics/definition/con-20036799>.

"Tay-Sachs Disease." Tay-Sachs Disease. Mayo Clinic, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tay-sachs-disease/basics/definition/con-20036799>.