Prader-Willi Syndrome: Medical, Emotional and Cognitive Facets
Varda Gross-Tsur, Yael E. Landau
Neuropediatric Unit, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem
Prader-Willi syndrome, first described in 1956, is characterized by marked hypotonia, hyperphagia, severe obesity, short stature, hypogonadism, orthopedic problems, breathing- related sleep disorders, mild to moderate mental retardation and behavioral abnormalities. The incidence of this syndrome, an expression of a genetic imprinting error in chromosome 15, is 1:10,000-1:25,000.
We describe the medical, emotional and cognitive parameters of 34 patients in our multidisciplinary clinic for Prader-Willi syndrome. Their ages range from 5 months to 40 years and 20 are males. Excessive weight gain started at the age of 6 years, increasing to 170-370% of that predicted by height and age and short stature started after the age of 12. All males have hypogonadism; 6 patients have scoliosis. Breathing-related sleep disorders have occurred in 15.
Children above the age of 8 years underwent neuropsychological assessment: half (9/18) have borderline intelligence while a quarter have low-normal intelligence and the remainder mild to moderate mental retardation. Behavioral and social problems are common, and become more prominent during adolescence. ADHD was diagnosed in 10/18.