Metabolic Diseases: How to Detect A Faulty Gene

Many babies have a standard reaction to a sudden, sharp noise. They fling up their arms, and thrust out their legs. This "startle response" normally disappears by the time a baby is four months old. But if it persists and gradually intensifies, it is probably an indication that the baby has Tay-Sachs disease. This is a rare genetic defect that leaves children completely paralyzed, deaf and blind by the time they are two, and is usually fatal by the age of four. Modern medicine knows no cure for Tay-Sachs (named for the...

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