Prader-Willi syndrome is a complex disorder affecting multiple systems with many manifestations relating to hypothalamic insufficiency. Major findings include infantile hypotonia, developmental delay and mental retardation, behaviour disorder, characteristic facial appearance, obesity, hypogonadism, and short stature. Obesity and the behavioural problems are the major causes of morbidity and mortality. Prader-Willi syndrome is caused by abnormalities of the imprinted region of proximal 15q and results from absence of the normally active paternal genes in this region. Such absence results from paternal interstitial deletion, maternal uniparental disomy, or a mutation or other abnormality in the imprinting process. Diagnostic identification of all causes has become available in recent years, permitting early detection and institution of appropriate management. This testing has permitted recent identification of some phenotypic differences among affected subjects of different race and between those with deletions and uniparental disomy as a cause.
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