Growths, called tubers, are often found growing inside of the brain and retinal area of the eye. Tuberous sclerosis (TS) affects many organs in the body including the brain, spinal cord, lungs, heart, kidneys, skin, and skeletal bones in the child. Mental retardation, developmental delays, seizures, and learning disabilities are also associated with this disease.
Although the true prevalence of tuberous sclerosis is not known, it is estimated that this disease occurs in one in 6,000 persons in the US. It is an autosomal dominant condition. Autosomal means that both males and females are equally affected and dominant means that only one copy of the gene is necessary to have the disorder. Many children born with TS are the first cases in a family, since the majority of TS is caused by a new gene change (mutation), and is not inherited. However, parents of a child with TS may have very subtle symptoms of the disorder, and should be carefully examined. Even if no symptoms are present, the parents are considered at a slightly increased risk to have another child with TS, greater than that of the general population.