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Prader-willi syndrome: clinical aspects.

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex multisystem genetic disorder that shows great variability, with changing clinical features during a patient's life. The syndrome is due to the loss of expression of several genes encoded on the proximal long arm of chromosome 15 (15q11.2-q13). The complex phenotype is most probably caused by a hypothalamic dysfunction that is responsible for hormonal dysfunctions and for absence of the sense of satiety. For this reason a Prader-Willi (PW) child develops hyperphagia during the initial stage of infancy that can lead to obesity and its complications. During infancy many PW child display a range of behavioural problems that become more noticeable in adolescence and adulthood and interfere mostly with quality of life. Early diagnosis of PWS is important for effective long-term management, and a precocious multidisciplinary approach is fundamental to improve quality of life, prevent complications, and prolong life expectancy.

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