What is the Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X Syndrome (which is also referred to as Fragile X or FXS) is a common hereditary form of mental retardation. It is the result of a mutation or a change within a single gene, which may be passed on from one generation to the next. It doesn’t discriminate either. It hits every income level and ethnic group. The signs and symptoms of FXS vary in intensity and degree from person to person.

Cause for the symptoms

The symptoms of the Fragile X syndrome may occur because of the mutated genes which are unable to produce enough of a protein which is needed by the body’s cells, especially the brain, to grow and function normally.

Differing effects of Fragile X on men and women

Fragile X most consistent and prominent effect the one it has on intelligence. About 80% of men with Fragile X have an intelligence quotient (IQ) of 75 or less than 75. But the effect of this on women’s IQ is more variable. Some women may have learning disabilities, some may have mental impairment, and yet some do have a normal IQ.

Other symptoms and signs of  Fragile X

People with the Fragile X syndrome may also share certain physical attributes such as having large ears and/or  a long face. Problems with emotion, sensation, and behavior are also common with Fragile X.

Research on Fragile X

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is the major sponsor of research on Fragile X syndrome. The NICHD since 1991, has funded research and they have discovered the gene which causes Fragile X. Thus, scientists have been able to learn a great deal about the gene structure and its function.

The NICHD has the continuous support of the clinicians and scientists  around the world  working to discover effective behavior therapies,  medical treatments, and other solutions for those that suffer from Fragile X syndrome.

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