Characterizing regression in Phelan McDermid Syndrome (22q13 deletion syndrome)

J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Aug;91:139-144. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.03.010. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


Purpose: To describe the frequency and characteristics of developmental regression in a sample of 50 patients with Phelan McDermid Syndrome (PMS) and investigate the possibility of association between regression, epilepsy, and electroencephalogram (EEG) abnormalities and deletion size.

Methods: The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) was used to evaluate regression in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of PMS. Information on seizure history and EEGs was obtained from medical record review. Deletion size was determined by DNA microarray.

Results: A history of regression at any age was present in 43% of all patients. Among those exhibiting regression, 67% had onset after the age of 30 months, affecting primarily motor and self-help skills. In 63% of all patients there was a history of seizures and a history of abnormal EEG was also present in 71%. No significant associations were found between regression and seizures or EEG abnormalities. Deletion size was significantly associated with EEG abnormalities, but not with regression or seizures.

Conclusion: This study found a high rate of regression in PMS. In contrast to regression in autism, that often occurs earlier in development and affects language and social skills, we found regression in PMS most frequently has an onset in mid-childhood, affecting motor and self-help skills. We also found high rates of seizures and abnormal EEGs in patients with PMS. However, a history of abnormal EEG and seizures was not associated with an increased risk of regression. Larger deletion sizes were found to be significantly associated with a history of abnormal EEG.

Keywords: 22q13.3 deletion syndrome; Developmental regression; Electroencephalogram; Phelan McDermid syndrome; Seizures.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Chromosome Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Chromosome Disorders / psychology*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 22
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Language
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Regression, Psychology*
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Telomeric 22q13 Monosomy Syndrome