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Published: June 09. 2011 4:00AM PST


Actor Colin Farrell recently disclosed that his 7-year-old son James has been diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a neurological disorder caused by a genetic defect. According to the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, the condition affects 1 in every 15,000 children born in the U.S.


The condition is most often diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 5, and is often misdiagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy. Children affected by the disorder often have developmental delays and cognitive disabilities, often with severe speech impairment. They have balance problems and jerky movements. Children with Angelman Syndrome typically have a happy, excitable demeanor and are frequently smiling and laughing, with hand-flapping movements. They also tend to have a high fascination with water and crinkly items, such as plastic or wrapping paper.


Physically, the children often have small heads that are flat in the back, protruding tongues and widely spaced teeth. Sleep problems are common and they can experience recurrent seizures. As the children age, they become less excitable and sleep improves, and they have a normal life expectancy. There is no cure or therapy for the condition itself, but the children can benefit from various physical, speech and behavioral therapies.


— Markian Hawryluk, The Bulletin


Source: Angelman Syndrome Foundation, National Library of Medicine

http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110609/NEWS0107/106090310/1025&nav_category=



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