Who Discovered Tay-Sachs Disease?


Quick Answer

Tay-Sachs Disease was named for the doctors who first noted and described the symptoms of the disease, according to the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation. Warren Tay was a British ophthalmologist, and Bernard Sachs was a neurologist from New York.

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Full Answer

Tay-Sachs disease is a genetic disorder that results in damage to the nervous system, explains the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation. When it occurs in infants, as is most common, it is always fatal. Juvenile or adult onset Tay-Sachs is rare, but usually non-fatal.

In 1881, ophthalmologist Warren Tay first described the hallmark cherry-red retinal spot that manifests as a symptom of Tay-Sachs, says the Cure Tay-Sachs Foundation. Later, Neurologist Bernard Sachs was the first to describe the cellular changes that take place in those with the disease. He was also the first to note that the disease was more common among people of Eastern European Jewish ancestry. There is no cure for Tay-Sachs disease, as of 2015.

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