Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital doctors are taking part in the upcoming 2012 World Rett Syndrome Congress in New Orleans.

Dr. Huda Zoghbi, professor of neuroscience, pediatrics, molecular and human genetics, and neurology at BCM and director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute (NRI) at Texas Children's, will co-chair the Family Education Conference and the Science Symposium along with Dr. Gail Mandel of Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, on June 22. Both are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators.

Identification of Rett gene

Zoghbi is responsible for identifying the gene MECP2 that causes Rett syndrome, a disease of the nervous system characterized by developmental reversals in areas such as language and motor skills. An infant (usually a girl) seems to develop normally at first. At about the age of 1 year, she begins to regress, losing the ability to use her hands and to speak. Other problems involving balance and behavior develop as the disease progresses.

While a mutation in the MECP2 gene is often the cause, it is not always the case. Some patients have a mutation in the gene but not the disease. Others may have symptoms of Rett syndrome without the gene mutation.

Information and support

Joining Zoghbi for the Congress will be Dr. Daniel Glaze, professor of pediatrics at BCM and medical director of the Blue Bird Circle Rett Center and Texas Children's Sleep Center, and Dr. Jeffrey Neul, associate professor of pediatrics, assistant medical director of the Blue Bird Circle Rett Center and researcher with the NRI.

Glaze will be hosting the Clinician Medical Education Seminar June 23. Neul will be hosting the Translational and Pre-Clinical Research Symposium June 24.

While the event was created to bring together scientists and educators to accelerate treatment and research toward a cure for Rett syndrome, it is also a time for families of children diagnosed with the disorder to meet and discuss how they have improved their loved ones' quality of life.

This is the first year the Congress, which was organized through the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, will be held in the United States. Researchers and families from across the globe will attend.

If you are interested in attending the upcoming 2012 World Rett Syndrome Congress view registration information, including schedules and fees.