Medical Dictionary

Tay–Sachs disease

noun \ˈtā-ˈsaks-\

Medical Definition of Tay–Sachs disease

  1. :  a hereditary disorder of lipid metabolism that typically affects individuals of eastern European Jewish ancestry, that is marked by the accumulation of lipids especially in nervous tissue due to a deficiency of hexosaminidase A, that is characterized by weakness, macrocephaly, red retinal spots, hyperacusis, retarded development, blindness, convulsions, paralysis, and death in early childhood, and that is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait—called also Tay-Sachs; see sandhoff's disease

Biographical Note for tay–sachs disease




(1843–1927), British physician. Tay specialized in ophthalmology, dermatology, and pediatrics. In 1881 he described a degenerative condition of the choroid found in a genetic disorder of lipid metabolism.




(1858–1944), American neurologist. Sachs was a neurologist associated with several New York City hospitals. In 1887 he published a comprehensive description of a genetic disorder of lipid metabolism. His observations were made independently of Tay. The condition is known as Tay-Sachs disease as an acknowledgment of Sachs' later but more comprehensive account.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Tay–Sachs disease? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


capable of being understood in two ways

Get Word of the Day daily email!