Rett syndrome is a unique developmental disorder first recognized in infancy and is generally seen in girls. It is often misdiagnosed as autism, cerebral palsy, or a developmental delay. Caused by mutations in the X chromosome it occurs in 1 of every 10,000-23,000 female births. Rett syndrome causes problems in the brain affecting; learning, communication, sensory processing, movement, breathing, cardiac function, chewing, swallowing, digestion, and more.
The host of challenges that come with a Rett syndrome diagnosis affect the family as a whole, with most individuals requiring assistance in most every aspect of their life. The needs vary through the four stages of Rett syndrome from Early Onset, Rapid Destructive, Plateau, and on to Late Motor Deterioration.
A British research study showed that 5 girls with Rett Syndrome benefitted from listening to a music listening method developed by my company Advanced Brain Technologies called The Listening Program®. The findings show improvements in a number of areas with the strongest trend toward increased engagement and decreased anxiety. Sensory processing appears to be improving which is consistent with outcomes of other studies. These findings were presented by the investigator Helen Francis at the International Rett Syndrome Congress in Paris back in October 2008.
We are encouraged by these results and the potential to improve the quality of life for those with Rett syndrome. A larger controlled trial should be conducted, and I am hopeful this study will help make that happen.