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.
Carrier frequencies for the allele(s) causing Sandhoff disease have been estimated for the U.S. Jewish and non-Jewish populations. The estimates have been made directly, with data from 22,043 Jewish and 32,342 non-Jewish individuals measured for total serum hexosaminidase activity and the heat-labile fraction. These values have been shown to identify potential carriers of the Sandhoff allele(s) with 95% sensitivity.
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.