Tay-Sachs Disease among French Canadians and Irish Persons

For starters I am about 37.5% German, 12.5% Irish, 25% French Canadian, and 25% Polish. The article I researched through Mount Sinai Hospitals organization website related Tay-Sachs disease to Eastern Europeans, French Canadian, and Cajun populations and I found this very fitting. Tay-Sachs is defined as a genetic disorder relating to fatty substance building up in the brain. This disease is caused by the absence of the enzyme needed to break down GM2 (a fatty substance). However this disease can only be expressed if both parents were to pass the trait on, if not than the disease is simply considered a carrier in the newly born individual.

Like Sickle cell disease discussed in class, Tay-Sachs disease does not have a treatment only the precaution for the possibility of inheritance for your child if you decide to conceive children. However there does not seem to be an upside to inheriting Tay-Sachs such as there is with Sickle cell relating to malaria.

Signs of disease developing around 4-5 months include decreased eye contact, loss of motor skills, enlarged head, vision, deafness, muscle spasm, and seizure whereas signs appearing from 2-5 years of age include loss of ability to speak, sleep problems, psychiatric problems, intellectual disability, and seizure continuation.

Diagnosis may include examining eyes for a red spot and testing body fluids.

It makes sense that Tay-Sachs symptoms are clear at such a young age because it relates to a child’s developmental basic skills including sensory and growth. Typically the first few years of age include these skills in order for a young child to learn how to use their senses based on mistakes and their parent’s teachings. Without the ability to develop as a normal infant or child through these many aspects makes sense to why Tay-Sachs children do not normally live over the age of 15. I could not find a graph or image relating Tay-Sachs to certain persons over others but did find that when both parents are carriers, the child has a 25% chance of having the disease, Irish descendants have about 1 in 50 percent chance, and French Canadians have about 1 in 27 percent chance.


“Tay-Sachs Disease.” Mount Sinai Hospital Organization. Last Modified 2014. http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/tay-sachs-disease


“Tay-Sachs Disease.” National Tay-Sachs and Allied Diseases. Accessed July 9, 2014. http://www.ntsad.org/index.php/tay-sachs

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply