Two unrelated females, age 15 and 5 years respectively, were studied cytogenetically because of severe mental retardation, seizures and ataxia-like incoordination. A similar deletion of the proximal long arm of chromosome 15 was found in both patients.
Re-evaluation showed no voracious appetite or obesity; normal size of hands and feet, minimal to no hypotonia by history or examination and facial features not typical of the Prader-Willi syndrome. However, the facial appearance of the girls was similar to each other with mild hypertelorism.
The similarity of these girls and dissimilarity to Prader-Willi syndrome suggest a different syndrome, perhaps the result of deletion of a different segment of 15q. The findings of ataxic-like movements, frequent, unprovoked and prolonged bouts of laughter and facial appearance are more compatible with the diagnosis of Angelman syndrome.