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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Weaver Syndrome

Q. Does weaver syndrome have a mental health component? There is so little on this issue. Can you post some sites or journals about this link?

A. Let's give our readers a little background information. Weaver Syndrome (WS) is a very rare condition of excessive prenatal growth, first described only about 25 years ago, by DD Weaver and colleagues. The cause is not precisely known. WS typically presents with overgrowth of bones, malformation of facial and cranial (skull) structures (e.g., broad forehead, large head), large ears, loose skin folds, large hands, and hoarse, low-pitched voice (see Majewski et al, Eur J Pediatr 1981;137:277-82; Proud et al, Am J Med Genet 1998; 79:305-10 for details).

With respect to mental or psychiatric problems, some WS individuals may show mild developmental delay--that is, they may not achieve neuropsychological milestones at the same pace, or to the same degree, as unaffected individuals. Thus, mild mental retardation may be present. Some degree of social withdrawal may also be seen in WS individuals (see Kondo et al, Am J Med Genet 1991;41:221-4).

Other psychiatric features are not well-described as yet. Individuals who believe they, or a family member, suffer from WS should consult with a genetic counselor for information and referral. There is also an organization that may be of help: The Weaver Syndrome Family Support group, 4357 153d Ave SE, Bellevue WA 98006 (206-747-5382).

March 2002

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