What is Fragile X Syndrome?

Fragile X syndrome is an inherited genetic condition associated with mental retardation.  It is identified by a break, or weakness, on the long arm of the X chromosome.  This is an abnormality of a sex chromosome which can be transmitted from parent to child.  This means that mothers are carriers and their sons are at risk of being affected, while daughters are at risk of being carriers and sometimes mildly affected.  While more boys than girls are affected by Fragile X, it is not transmitted from father to son.  Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of mental retardation known to exist.


About 80 percent of boys who inherit Fragile X have mental retardation, ranging from severe retardation to low-normal intelligence.  Girls are much less affected, with estimates that about 30 percent with the genetic condition have some degree of mental retardation.


Men and boys with Fragile X Syndrome are usually socially engaging, but they have an unusual style of interacting with other people.  They tend to avoid direct eye contact during conversation, and hand-flapping or hand-biting is common.  They may have an unusual speech pattern characterized by a fast and fluctuating rate and repetitions of sounds, words or phrases.  They also may have a problem in their attention span, hyperactivity and motor delays.  There is no cure for Fragile X Syndrome, but medical intervention can help many young boys.  A variety of medications can improve attention span, concentration, hyperactivity and aggressive behavior.


If you would like more information, contact The National Fragile X Foundation at 800-688-8765, or visit them online at www.nfxf.org.


Phone code: 1704

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