Tay-Sachs Disease is a progressive and fatal genetic condition that involves a complete deficiency of the hexosaminidase-A (HEXA) enzyme. This enzyme is needed in healthy individuals for the process of hydrolysis of GM2 ganglioside to occur. For individuals with Tay-Sachs disease that lack this enzyme, the fatty substance of GM2 ganglioside accumulates in the brain and leads to the symptoms of the disease.
A single ancestral couple from France was found to be common to most of the carriers of the exon 11 insertion. Pedigree data suggest that this mutation has been in the Cajun population since its founding over 2 centuries ago and that it may be widely distributed within the population. In contrast, the intron 9 mutation apparently was introduced within the last century and probably is limited to a few Louisiana families.
There's currently no cure for Tay-Sachs disease, so the aim of treatment is to make living with the condition as comfortable as possible. Treatment usually focuses on the Preventing problems with the lungs and airways, relieving any feeding or swallowing problems (dysphagia) and using medication to help control or relieve symptoms, such as fits and muscle stiffness.