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Late-onset Tay–Sachs disease
  1. Andrew W Barritt1,2,
  2. Stuart J Anderson1,
  3. P Nigel Leigh1,3,
  4. Basil H Ridha1
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, Hurstwood Park Neurosciences Centre, Haywards Heath, UK
  2. 2 Clinical Imaging Sciences Centre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Falmer, UK
  3. 3 Trafford Centre for Biomedical Research, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Falmer, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew W Barritt, Department of Neurology, Hurstwood Park Neurosciences Centre, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 4EX, UK; awb{at}


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.

  • Hexosaminidase A Deficiency

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  • Contributors AWB performed a literature search and review and drafted the article. SJA performed a literature search, review of the literature and part-drafted the article. PNL and BHR provided clinical expertise and critical appraisal of the article for submission.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Robin Lachmann, London, UK.

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