080210xf's Blog

L'X fragile sera vaincu | Fragile X will be conquered

Drug appears to aid children with fragile X syndrome

Phyllis Brown, UC Davis |

SACRAMENTO — One of the antibiotics most commonly prescribed to treat adolescent acne can increase attention spans and communication and decrease anxiety in patients with fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of mental impairment, according to a new survey study that is the first published on parents’ reports of their children’s responses to treatment with the medication.

Led by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute, the study examined parents’ observations of their children’s responses to minocycline — not the efficacy of treating patients with the drug. However, the researchers said that the study results are extremely promising. They led to a placebo-controlled clinical trial of treating people with fragile X with minocycline, funded by the National Fragile X Foundation.

“Minocycline Treatment in Patients with Fragile X Syndrome and Exploration of Outcome Measures” is published in the September 2010 issue of the American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. In the study, parents relate that after being treated for an average of three months, their children showed improvements in their use of language, attention levels and behavior, while experiencing mostly mild side effects.

“This preliminary survey demonstrated improvements in participants, however, a controlled clinical trial is needed to compare the efficacy of treating patients with minocycline to treatment with a placebo,” said Randi Hagerman, Fragile X Endowed Chair, medical director of the UC Davis MIND Institute and one of the world’s leading experts on fragile X syndrome.

Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder, the result of a defect on the X chromosome. It is estimated to affect 1 in 3,600 males and 1 in 4,000 females. One-third of all children with fragile X syndrome develop autism and approximately 5 percent of children with an autism-spectrum disorder have fragile X.

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