New Medication for the Most Common Type of Mental Disability - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/24/02

New Medication for the Most Common Type of Mental Disability

It affects one in 2,000 males and one in 4,000 females. Yet, there are lot of people walking around out there who are classified as Fragile X and does not even know they have inherited the most common cause of mental retardation, second to Down Syndrome.

Symptoms of Fragile X vary from mild learning disabilities to severe mental retardation. It can trigger attention Deficit, hyperactivity, autistic like behaviors and a long face and large ears. "I think its very under diagnosed and so there are people out there with Fragile X Syndrome that don't know they have it. The risk of being a carrier is high enough that for young women anyway, your risk of having a child with Fragile X may acutely be higher than your risk of having a child with Down Syndrome," says Dr. Elizabeth Barry-Kravis.

Now Rush Presbyterian Medical Center in Chicago is about to begin testing a pill called Ampakine. The drug works to strengthen connections between brain cells.

"This is the first type of medicine that's been used to actually try to improve learning function in patients with Fragile X Syndrome," says Dr. Barry-Kravis.

Subjects need to be at least 18 years-old. For more information about Fragile X and the study, (click here). In the near future, researchers there say they will also try the drug Ampakine on people with Autism.

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