Comparison and Contrast: Rett Syndrome vs Angleman Syndrome

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On the topic of Rett Syndrome vs Angelman Syndrome, most people can get confused and mistake one syndrome for the other. Both these syndromes have similar symptoms that are very prominent among many of the people suffering from either of the syndromes, but not quite. The basic difference, of course, between these two syndromes is their cause.

Causes of Rett Syndrome and Angelman Syndrome

Rett Syndrome is a disorder that affects grey matter. This is a disorder that is neurodevelopmental in nature, and it stems from mutations in the x chromosome. This explains why it is most common in girls than boys. Sporadic mutations causing Rett syndrome is rare and is not usually inherited from the parents. Studies are still being conducted to determine why this kind of mutation occurs. A germlin mutation is a mutation that is inherited from the parents, usually the mother.

Angelman Syndrome is a disorder in neuro-genetic terms. While Rett Syndrome is caused by mutations, the Angelman Syndrome is caused by omission. Deletion or inactivation of certain genes that are inherited from the mother.

Common Symptoms

Each syndrome has its own set of symptoms, but they do share some of those symptoms which makes it easy to confuse the two syndromes. These common symptoms include speech impairment, loss of balance and even the inability to walk, and a very short attention span. These symptoms are only a small part of the wide array of possible signs for these two syndromes, but these symptoms are the most high profile. There are easily seen by people, therefore giving the illusion that the two syndromes are closely related when they are actually not.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms for Rett Syndrome include screaming fits, inconsolable crying, panic attacks, lack of social reciprocity, avoidance of eye contact, gastrointestinal problems and sensory problems. Some of these symptoms can sometimes be found in people with Angelman Syndrome, but it is not common enough to consider it as an overlap of the two syndromes’s symptoms.

Angelman Syndrome symptoms that are rarely or not at all seen among people with Rett syndrome include a hyperactive happy demeanor, hypermotoric behavior, frequent laughter, feeding problems, tongue thrusting, frequent drooling, increased sensitivity to heat, fascination with water and physical abnormalities like a prominent mandible, wide mouth, wide spaced teeth, flat back of head and smooth palms.


The key to determine the right syndrome in a person is by observing their behavior. People suffering from Rett syndrome are more autistic-like and shy, often avoiding talking to people especially those who are new to them. They tend to become more sheltered and lonely because of their dislike for interaction. It will take some time for them to feel comfortable with a new person in their life, and sometimes, they don’t get comfortable at all.

People with Angelman syndrome has the opposite demeanor. They are more hyper and happy, often flailing their arms around as they play and moves around. Basically, in the Rett Syndrome vs Angelman Syndrome debate, it’s a battle of the outgoing and the shy.

Atypical Rett/Angelman Syndrome Panel -

Angelman Syndrome -

Rett Syndrome -