The author of this literature review set out to explore the literature on the associations between human genome variations and psychological functioning in people with learning disabilities with a specific focus on recent developments reported in studies of people with fragile X syndrome.
He suggests that there is now substantial evidence that individuals of all ages and intellectual abilities have psychological profiles determined by the fragile X gene full mutation and also premutations and intermediate alleles (one member of a pair of genes located at a specific position on a specific chromosome)
He points out that the importance of these genetic contributors to mental life appears to increase with age. The literature suggests that premutation carriers (an individual without the full mutation for fragile X) are prone to neurodegenerative mid-life fragile X tremor-ataxia syndrome, which involved problems with movement, memory, and the autonomic nervous system.
Current research into pharmacological treatment appears to be offering the possibility of syndrome-specific medical treatments.
The author concludes that genetic, neurological, biochemical, psychological and pharmacological research are providing new insights into the understanding of developmental and psychological disabilities affecting individuals with fragile X. Trials of syndrome-specific medication are underway.
Fragile X syndrome: lifespan developmental implications for those without as well as with intellectual disability, Turk J, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 24, 5, 387–397