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Group hunts for family of pioneering Wirral doctor; 50 years since discovery of genetic disorder.

Byline: LORNA HUGHES ECHO Reporter lorna.hughes@trinitymirror.com lorna_hughes @

RELATIVES of a pioneering Wirral doctor who identified a rare genetic condition are being asked to come forward to mark the 50th anniversary of his discovery.

Birkenhead-born Dr Harry Angelman noticed similarities between previously undiagnosed children admitted to his ward at Warrington Hospital and realised they shared a common cause for their illness - now known as Angelman Syndrome.

After seeing a painting in a museum in Italy entitled A Boy with a Puppet the paediatrician, who died 19 years ago, was inspired to write a medical paper about titled Puppet Children.

ASSERT, the UK support group for families of those with Angelman Syndrome, is now hoping to invite his surviving relatives to the European Science and Research conference it is holding in Liverpool in October.

Rachel Martin, ASSERT trustee & chairman, said: "He is a very interesting man and it would be nice to have someone there who is related to him.

"This year it is not only the 50th anniversary of Angelman Syndrome being discovered and documented by Dr Angelman but it would have also been his 100th birthday.

"Dr Angelman passed away in 1996 and we are struggling to find any of his relatives.

"Unfortunately our organisation never knew him but he worked with parents who set up the first group for Angelman Syndrome in the UK, which later disbanded."

The conference will take place at Alder Hey hospital, followed by a formal evening event at the Marriott Hotel.

The syndrome Dr Angelman identified was originally called "Happy Puppet Syndrome" because of the characteristic happy demeanour and stiff jerky movements of the children but was renamed in 1982.

The disorder, which affects one in 16,000 people, causes severe learning difficulties.

The doctor, who trained at the University of Liverpool, retired in 1976 and he and wife Audrey moved to Southampton.

Email rachel.martin@angelmanuk.org or call the ASSERT helpline on 0300 999 0102.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 6, 2015
Words:332
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