Autoimmunity and mental health in William’s syndrome

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


William’s Syndrome (WS) is described as a genetic disorder characterized by mild to moderate mental retardation, engaging personalities, distinctive facial features and heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) problems. People affected by WS present also difficulties with visual-spatial tasks and are mostly known by their unique music and language skills, the latter being the reason why WS has been mainly studied for language formation. The presence of attention deficit disorder, problems with anxiety and phobias are usually less characterized in WS although more attention is starting to be given to these issues. Moreover, little attention has been paid to autoimmunity problems prevalent in WS such as celiac or Crohn’s disease. Autoimmune diseases (AID) are accepted to be possible pathogenic mechanisms that lead to mental deterioration and dementia. In people affected by WS, both AID and retardation are developing alongside each other whilst, in addition, AID can stimulate inflammatory brain states and deterioration. In the present chapter I will revise the different AID reported in patients with WS and will talk about the reasons why some AID are prevalent in WS. Next, I will explain how AID interfere with the normal development of the brain highlighting the pathways that might be affected in patients with WS suffering from AID, which can lead to mental health deterioration, obsessive-compulsive disorders and/or anxiety. Finally, and based on the above, I will suggest some guidance for clinicians and caregivers to decrease the risk for worsening mental health deterioration in WS.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Neurology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Health and Disease
EditorsDuncan Lowell
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781536126969
ISBN (Print)9781536126952
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch