Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Vanderbilt Rett Syndrome Symposium scheduled for Oct. 16

Updated on 9/24/2013 9:03:38 AM.

By: Elizabeth Turner

A Rett Syndrome Symposium, “Raising Awareness Within the Community,” will be hosted by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 5:00 p.m. in Room 241 of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, located at 110 Magnolia Circle, Nashville. Family members and friends, researchers, clinicians, students, community professionals, and disability advocates are invited to attend this free public event.

Rett syndrome is a unique neurological disorder that is first recognized in infancy and is seen almost exclusively in girls. According to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, it is often misdiagnosed as autism, cerebral palsy, or non-specific developmental delay. Rett syndrome is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MeCP2 and can cause problems in brain functions that affect movement, coordination, and communication.

“This is the first-ever symposium highlighting Rett-related disorders here at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center,” said Sarika Peters, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Member. “We wanted to do this because many families of affected children and adults have said that they were unaware that anyone at Vanderbilt had an interest in these conditions. As a result, most have been seeking care outside of the state at other Rett Centers. This symposium will highlight the expertise here at Vanderbilt and how we are working side by side with patients to be at the forefront of research and clinical care for Rett syndrome and related disorders.”

Among the topics discussed during the event will be medical issues affecting Rett syndrome and the need for ongoing clinical care, updates on research, and the use of assistive technology to address communication needs.

In addition to Dr. Peters, panelists include Nirupama Madduri, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and fellow Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Member; Colleen Niswender, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Center of Neuroscience Drug Discovery; and Courtney Kuzma, Tobii Representative.

Light refreshments will be provided. For planning purposes, please register by Monday, Oct. 7. For more information, contact Amy Wilson at (615) 322-8093 or

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Amy Wilson, (615) 322-8093