October 17, 2005
syndrome (RS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder predominantly
seen in females. It is one of the leading causes of
cognitive impairment in females and occurs approximately
once in 10,000 to 15,000 live female births. RS has
intriguing similarities to autism, which is found much
more frequently in males. Since 1999, it has been known
that RS is caused by a gene mutation that inhibits normal
development of selected regions of the brain responsible
for motor, autonomic, sensory and emotional functions.
After apparently normal development for the first 6-18
months of life, the impact of the genetic mutation disrupts
development, causing a dramatic loss of physical and
communication skills which leads to severe and multiple
handicaps, usually by the age of three years. RS is
not limited to, or more prevalent in, one particular
race or geographic region and it invades every social-economic
with children who have Rett syndrome face many challenges
learning to cope with seizures, physical therapy, braces
and wheelchairs, feeding tubes, mounting medical bills,
and relentless procedural and policy problems with many
institutions including those concerning health insurance,
education, housing and social services. There may be
200,000 girls and women worldwide who have Rett syndrome.
More information about combating Rett syndrome and contributing
to a cure may be found through the Rett Syndrome Association
at 1-800-818-RETT or the Web site at www.rettsyndrome.org.
Mr. Chairman, I ask that the Board approve the following
October as "Rett Syndrome Awareness Month"
in Fairfax County; and
the Office of Public Affairs to publicize information
about this little known but devastating disease through
a news release, the County Web site, and the Channel
16 bulletin board.