Some carriers of a "premutation" allele of the FMR1 gene develop late-onset tremor/ataxia. We conducted a magnetic resonance imaging volumetric study in an unselected sample of eight older male premutation carriers. Volumetric measures, including total brain volume, and the volumes of cerebrum, cerebellum, and cerebral cortex all were significantly reduced in premutation carriers compared with similar data from 21 age-matched normal controls. Total brain and cerebral volumes were significantly related to the number of CGG repeats in the FMR1 gene. Moreover, increased hippocampal volume indicates this premutation may account for both neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental changes.
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