Late-onset Tay–Sachs disease

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Abstract

We discuss the assessment and differential diagnoses of a young adult Hungarian man with a 1-year history of a progressive and symmetric amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-like syndrome, along with irregular action tremor and stimulus-sensitive myoclonus of the arms. MR scan of the brain showed isolated cerebellar atrophy and formal neuropsychometric testing identified significant subclinical deficits in attention, processing speed and memory. We suspected a form of GM2 gangliosidosis, and white cell enzyme analysis showed markedly reduced enzymatic activity of β-hexosaminidase A. Genetic testing subsequently revealed two heterozygous pathogenic mutations in the HEXA gene (c.1499delT p.(Leu500fs) and c.805G>A p.(Gly269Ser)), confirming the very rare diagnosis of adult-onset Tay–Sachs disease.

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