Williams Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Williams Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • Beuren Syndrome
  • Early Hypercalcemia Syndrome with Elfin Facies
  • Elfin Facies with Hypercalcemia
  • Hypercalcemia-Supravalvar Aortic Stenosis
  • WBS
  • Williams-Beuren Syndrome
  • WMS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Williams syndrome, also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome, is a rare genetic disorder characterized by growth delays before and after birth (prenatal and postnatal growth retardation), short stature, a varying degree of mental deficiency, and distinctive facial features that typically become more pronounced with age. Such characteristic facial features may include a round face, full cheeks, thick lips, a large mouth that is usually held open, and a broad nasal bridge with nostrils that flare forward (anteverted nares). Affected individuals may also have unusually short eyelid folds (palpebral fissures), flared eyebrows, a small lower jaw (mandible), and prominent ears. Dental abnormalities may also occur including abnormally small, underdeveloped teeth (hypodontia) with small, slender roots.

Williams syndrome may also be associated with heart (cardiac) defects, abnormally increased levels of calcium in the blood during infancy (infantile hypercalcemia), musculoskeletal defects, and/or other abnormalities. Cardiac defects may include obstruction of proper blood flow from the lower right chamber (ventricle) of the heart to the lungs (pulmonary stenosis) or abnormal narrowing above the valve in the heart between the left ventricle and the main artery of the body (supravalvular aortic stenosis). Musculoskeletal abnormalities associated with Williams syndrome may include depression of the breastbone (pectus excavatum), abnormal side-to-side or front-to-back curvature of the spine (scoliosis or kyphosis), or an awkward gait. In addition, most affected individuals have mild to moderate mental retardation; poor visual-motor integration skills; a friendly, outgoing, talkative manner of speech; a short attention span; and are easily distracted.

In most individuals with Williams syndrome, the disorder appears to occur spontaneously for unknown reasons (sporadically). However, familial cases have also been reported. Sporadic and familial cases are thought to result from deletion of genetic material from adjacent genes (contiguous genes) within a specific region of chromosome 7 (7q11.23).

Resources

Williams Syndrome Association
570 Kirts Blvd
Suite 223
Troy, MI 48085
Tel: (248)244-2229
Fax: (248)244-2230
Tel: (800)806-1871
Email: info@williams-syndrome.org
Internet: http://www.williams-syndrome.org

Arc (a national organization on mental retardation)
1010 Wayne Ave
Suite 650
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: (301)565-3842
Fax: (301)565-3843
Tel: (800)433-5255
TDD: (817)277-0553
Email: info@thearc.org
Internet: http://www.thearc.org/

Williams Syndrome Foundation
161 High Street
Tonbridge, TN9 1BX
United Kingdom
Tel: 01732 365152
Fax: 01732 360178
Email: John.nelson-wsfoundation@btinternet.com
Internet: http://www.williams-syndrome.org.uk

Canadian Association for Williams Syndrome
P.O. Box 2115
Vancouver
British Columbia, V6B 3T5
Canada
Tel: 6048530231
Fax: 6048530232
Email: sev@uniserve.com
Internet: http://www.caws-can.org

NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
31 Center Dr
Building 31, Room 2A32
MSC2425
Bethesda, MD 20892
Tel: (301)496-5133
Fax: (301)496-7101
Internet: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
150 Custer Court
Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
USA
Tel: (920)336-5333
Fax: (920)339-0995
Tel: (877)336-5333
Email: mums@netnet.net
Internet: http://www.netnet.net/mums/

New Horizons Un-Limited, Inc.
811 East Wisconsin Ave
Suite 937
Milwaukee, WI 53202
USA
Tel: (414)299-0124
Fax: (414)347-1977
Email: horizons@new-horizons.org
Internet: http://www.new-horizons.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Email: ordr@od.nih.gov
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/Default.aspx

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766
Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

For a Complete Report

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

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