Williams syndrome

Name = Williams syndrome

Caption =
DiseasesDB =
ICD10 = ICD10|Q|93|8|q|90
ICD9 = ICD9|758.9
OMIM = 194050
MedlinePlus = 001116
eMedicineSubj = ped
eMedicineTopic = 2439
MeshID = D018980

Williams syndrome (WS; also Williams-Beuren syndrome or WBS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a deletion of about 26 genes from the long arm of chromosome 7. It is characterized by a distinctive, "elfin" facial appearance, along with a low nasal bridge; an unusually cheerful demeanor and ease with strangers, coupled with unpredictably occurring negative outbursts; a predisposition to violent outbursts; mental retardation coupled with unusual (for persons who are diagnosed as mentally retarded) language skills; a love for music; and cardiovascular problems, such as supravalvular aortic stenosis and transient hypercalcaemia. The syndrome was first identified in 1961 by Dr. J. C. P. Williams of New Zealand. [cite news |first=David |last=Dobbs |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=The Gregarious Brain. |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/magazine/08sociability-t.html |quote=If a person suffers the small genetic accident that creates Williams syndrome, he’ll live with not only some fairly conventional cognitive deficits, like trouble with space and numbers, but also a strange set of traits that researchers call the Williams social phenotype or, less formally, the “Williams personality”: a love of company and conversation combined, often awkwardly, with a poor understanding of social dynamics and a lack of social inhibition. |publisher=New York Times |date=July 8, 2007 |accessdate=2007-09-25 ]


Individuals with Williams syndrome are highly verbal and sociable, but lack common sense and typically have low intelligence. The condition has been contrasted with autism, who lack social interests. Individuals with WS hyperfocus on the eyes of others in social engagements. [cite journal |author=Riby DM, Hancock PJ |title=Viewing it differently: Social scene perception in Williams syndrome and Autism |journal=Neuropsychologia |volume=46 |issue=11 |pages=2855–60 |year=2008 |pmid=18561959 |doi=10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.05.003 |url=] There also appears to be a higher prevalence of left-handedness and left-eye dominance in those with Williams,cite journal |author=Van Strien JW, Lagers-Van Haselen GC, Van Hagen JM, De Coo IF, Frens MA, Van Der Geest JN |title=Increased prevalences of left-handedness and left-eye sighting dominance in individuals with Williams-Beuren syndrome |journal=J Clin Exp Neuropsychol |volume=27 |issue=8 |pages=967–76 |year=2005 |pmid=16207621 |doi=10.1080/13803390490919119] and cases of absolute pitch appear to be significantly higher amongst those with the condition.cite journal |author=Sacks O |authorlink=Oliver Sacks |title=Musical ability |journal=Science |volume=268 |issue=5211 |pages=621–2 |year=1995 |month=May |pmid=7732360|doi=10.1126/science.7732360] People with Williams syndrome often have hyperacusis and phonophobia which resembles noise-induced hearing loss, but this may be due to a malfunctioning auditory nerve. [cite journal |author=Gothelf D, Farber N, Raveh E, Apter A, Attias J |title=Hyperacusis in Williams syndrome: characteristics and associated neuroaudiologic abnormalities |journal=Neurology |volume=66 |issue=3 |pages=390–5 |year=2006 |month=February |pmid=16476938 |doi=10.1212/01.wnl.0000196643.35395.5f |url=http://www.neurology.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=16476938] [cite journal |author=Johnson LB, Comeau M, Clarke KD |title=Hyperacusis in Williams syndrome |journal=J Otolaryngol |volume=30 |issue=2 |pages=90–2 |year=2001 |month=April |pmid=11770962 |doi= |url=] Individuals with Williams syndrome also report higher levels of fears, which may be associated with hyperacusis. [cite journal |author=Blomberg S, Rosander M, Andersson G |title=Fears, hyperacusis and musicality in Williams syndrome |journal=Res Dev Disabil |volume=27 |issue=6 |pages=668–80 |year=2006 |pmid=16269236 |doi=10.1016/j.ridd.2005.09.002 |url=]

Visual perception

Individuals with Williams syndrome have difficulties with visual processing, but this is related to how complex spatial relationships are rather than issues with depth perception. [cite journal |author=Van der Geest JN, Lagers-van Haselen GC, van Hagen JM, "et al" |title=Visual depth processing in Williams-Beuren syndrome |journal=Exp Brain Res |volume=166 |issue=2 |pages=200–9 |year=2005 |month=October |pmid=15965761 |doi=10.1007/s00221-005-2355-1 |url=]


Infobox generic
name = Williams Syndrome genescite journal |author=Merla G, Howald C, Henrichsen CN, "et al" |title=Submicroscopic deletion in patients with Williams-Beuren syndrome influences expression levels of the nonhemizygous flanking genes |journal=Am. J. Hum. Genet. |volume=79 |issue=2 |pages=332–41 |year=2006 |month=August |pmid=16826523 |doi=10.1086/506371 |url=] cite journal |author=Schubert C, Laccone F |title=Williams-Beuren syndrome: determination of deletion size using quantitative real-time PCR |journal=Int. J. Mol. Med. |volume=18 |issue=5 |pages=799–806 |year=2006 |month=November |pmid=17016608 |doi= |url=http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijmm/article.jsp?article_id=ijmm_18_5_799] |
style1 = style="text-align:center; font-size:90%;"
row1 = ASL· BAZ1B· BCL7B· CLDN3· CLDN4
Williams syndrome is caused by the deletion of genetic material from the region q11.23 of chromosome 7. The deleted region includes more than 20 genes, and researchers believe that the loss of several of these genes probably contributes to the characteristic features of this disorder. Gene|CLIP2, ELN, Gene|GTF2I, Gene|GTF2IRD1, and Gene|LIMK1 are among the genes that are typically deleted in people with Williams syndrome. Researchers have found that loss of the "ELN" gene, which codes for the protein elastin, is associated with the connective-tissue abnormalities and cardiovascular disease (specifically supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) and supravalvular pulmonary stenosis (SVPS)) found in many people with this syndrome. Studies suggest that deletion of "LIMK1", "GTF2I", "GTF2IRD1", and perhaps other genes may help explain the characteristic difficulties with visual–spatial tasks. Additionally, there is evidence that the loss of several of these genes, including "CLIP2", may contribute to the unique behavioral characteristics, learning disabilities, and other cognitive difficulties seen in Williams syndrome.


Guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics include cardiology evaluations, anethesia consultation for any child requiring surgery, developmental and psychoeducational assessment, and many other examination, laboratory, and anticipatory guidance recommendations. [cite journal |journal=Pediatrics |year=2001 |volume=107 |issue=5 |pages=1192–2004 |title= Health care supervision for children with Williams syndrome |author= Committee on Genetics, American Academy of Pediatrics |url=http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;107/5/1192]


Williams syndrome has an estimated prevalence of 1 in 7,500 to 1 in 20,000.cite journal |journal= J Child Psychol Psychiatry |year=2008 |volume=49 |issue=6 |pages=576–608 |title= Research Review: Williams syndrome: a critical review of the cognitive, behavioral, and neuroanatomical phenotype |author= Martens MA, Wilson SJ, Reutens DC |doi=10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01887.x |pmid=18489677]


Further reading


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Williams syndrome — Wil·liams syndrome wil yəmz n a rare genetic disorder characterized esp. by hypercalcemia of infants, heart defects (as supravalvular aortic stenosis), characteristic facial features (as an upturned nose, long philtrum, wide mouth, full lips, and …   Medical dictionary

  • Williams syndrome — noun a rare congenital disorder associated with deletion of genetic material in chromosome 7; characterized by mental deficiency and some growth deficiency and elfin faces but an overly social personality and a remarkable gift for vocabulary •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Williams syndrome — noun Etymology: J. C. P. Williams b1922 New Zealand physician Date: 1981 a rare genetic disorder marked especially by hypercalcemia of infants, heart defects, characteristic facial abnormalities, and mild to moderate mental retardation but a high …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Williams syndrome — a hereditary condition, caused by a defect (a deletion) in chromosome 7, marked by a characteristic ‘elfin’ facial appearance (including large eyes, a wide mouth, and small chin), hypercalcaemia, short stature, mental retardation, and aortic… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • Williams syndrome — /ˈwɪljəmz sɪndroʊm/ (say wilyuhmz sindrohm) noun a rare genetic disorder characterised by an elfin facial shape, mild intellectual disability, and a high level of verbal skills and sociability. {first dentified in 1961 by NZ cardiologist, JCP… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Zori Stalker Williams syndrome — is a rare syndrome associated with a range of diseases and symptoms such as Pectus excavatum, macrocephaly and dysplastic nails, familial short stature, developmental delay and distinctive facies. [RareDiseases|374|Zori Stalker Williams syndrome] …   Wikipedia

  • Syndrome de Williams — Classification et ressources externes CIM 10 Q93.8 CIM 9 758.9 OMIM …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Syndrome de Williams-Beuren — Syndrome de Williams Syndrome de Williams Autre nom Syndrome de Williams Beuren Référence MIM …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Syndrome de Williams Beuren — Syndrome de Williams Syndrome de Williams Autre nom Syndrome de Williams Beuren Référence MIM …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Syndrome de williams — Autre nom Syndrome de Williams Beuren Référence MIM …   Wikipédia en Français

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