• Rett Syndrome: A Place for Angels

      Cox, Deborah Ann (University of Alaska Southeast, 2009-07-14)
      Rett syndrome is a thief! It robs little girls of their projected life. It lulls their families into a false sense of security while their little girls develop normally for 6 to 18 months. Then it insidiously robs them of their skills and abilities until they are trapped in a body that won't respond. These little girls are called "silent angels" (Hunter, 2007). Rett syndrome (RS) was originally identified in 1966 by the Austrian neurologist Andreas Rett, but his research and findings were written in an obscure form of the German language the medical world could not and did not translate. It wasn't until 1983, that Rett syndrome was re-identified and labeled as its own disorder (Hunter, 2007). The Rett Syndrome Research Foundation (2006) summarizes the condition best with: Rett syndrome is a debilitating neurological disorder diagnosed almost exclusively in females. Children with Rett syndrome appear to develop normally until 6 to 18 months of age when they enter a period of regression, losing speech and motor skills. Most develop repetitive hand movements, irregular breathing patterns, seizures and extreme motor control problems. Rett syndrome leaves its victims profoundly disabled, requiring maximum assistance with every aspect of daily living. There is no cure. (Retrieved October 14, 2008 from http://www.rsrf.org/about_rett_syndrome/) Research is ever going to regards to Rett syndrome. What is known as of now is that Rett syndrome is caused by a mutation of the gene MECP2. It is not passed down in families and it knows no ethnic boundaries. The majority of Rett girls live to adulthood (RSRF, 2006). The male child doesn't usually survive birth with Rett syndrome.