Engel, NBC News Correspondent, announced Thursday that his six-year-old son
has died. Henry suffered from Rett syndrome, a rare genetic brain
disorder without treatment or cure.

Henry’s death, Richard Engel wrote on Twitter: “Our beloved son Henry passed
away. He had the softest blue eyes, an easy smile and a contagious giggle. We
always surrounded him with love and he returned it, and so much more.”

What is
Rett syndrome?

syndrome is a rare genetic neurological and developmental disorder that affects
brain development, according to the Mayo Clinic website. The disorder leads to
a progressive loss of motor skills and language. Most children with Rett
syndrome develop as expected in the first six months and then begin losing the
skills gained. These babies lose skills learned such as crawling, walking,
using their hands and communication skills.

Also Read | Richard Engel announces death of 6-year-old son Henry

syndrome usually affects females. Children affected with Rett syndrome have
trouble using muscles that control movement, coordination and communication.
Rett syndrome is causes intellectual disabilities and seizures and is responsible
for unusual hand movement, such as repetitive rubbing or clapping, replace
purposeful use of hands.

No cure for
Rett syndrome exists till date. However, several potential treatments are being
studied. Right now, treatment is focussed on making small improvements in
communication, treating seizures, and providing care and support to children
and adults with Rett syndrome and their families.

symptoms of Rett syndrome:

The primary
symptoms of Rett syndrome are:

Slowed growth

Loss of
coordination abilities

Loss of communication

hand movements

unusual movements of the eye, breathing troubles, irritability and crying,
intellectual disabilities and other unusual behaviours. Most people affected by
Rett syndrome suffer seizures at one point or another. Some are affected by
scoliosis and some suffer irregular heartbeat and sleep disturbances.

Rett syndrome symptoms can be subtle in early stages. Symptoms of concern include slowed growth of a child’s head, decreased coordination and mobility, repetitive hand movements and decreasing eye contact.