Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) first was recognized in 1956 by three Swiss doctors, Andrea Prader, Alexis Labhart, and Heinrich Willi. PWS is a genetic disorder that is present at birth and causes many different cognitive, physical, and behavioral problems. This is a result of an abnormality of chromosome 15, which is one of the most complex regions of the human DNA system. This disorder affects about one out of every fifteen thousand births in both males and females. It doesn’t particularly reach to one race or another, but rather can affect everyone. Symptoms for PWS vary based on the severity of a particular individual.
These doctors discovered this syndrome by examining nine children with similar clinical characteristics, one of which was low body composition. This included things such as hypotonia at birth, small stature, very low body mass, small hands and feet, abnormal growth, insatiable hunger, extreme obesity, and intellectual disabilities. The three also discovered that the symptoms of this is caused by a malfunction in the hypothalamus in the brain, which controls the role in many bodily functions. There are two general stages of symptoms associated with PWS, early life and childhood and beyond. In the early life stage of PWS, infants have very low muscle tone, typically have a weak cry and poor suck reflexes. It is normal for babies with PWS to require frequent tube feeding because they are unable to breastfeed. Feeding difficulties should be heavily monitored