Neuropsychological dysfunction among affected heterozygous fragile X females

J. P. Grigsby, M. B. Kemper, Randi J Hagerman, C. S. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Fragile X (or Martin-Bell) syndrome is an X-linked disorder that often produces mental retardation in males, but usually affects heterozygous females to a lesser degree. Here we report the results of a brief neuropsychological examination of 20 heterozygous fra(x) girls and women and two control groups of 20 individuals each. One control group was composed of fra(x)-negative mothers (obligate carriers) and sisters of male probands with fra(x) syndrome, whereas the other was composed of 14 head-injured and six learning disabled women and girls. In addition to general intellectual impairment, several specific cognitive deficits were consistently found in individuals with the Martin-Bell syndrome, suggesting focal neuropsychological dysfunction. Significant differences were noted between fra(x) individuals and controls on most cognitive and neuropsychological measures studied. Over one-third of the fra(x) individuals demonstrated neuropsychological symptoms characteristic of the full developmental Gerstmann syndrome, whereas another third had three or four of the five signs of possible parietal lobe dysfunction. In our sample, there was an association between improved performance and increasing age. Differences among heterozygous individuals in number of focal symptoms may reflect some variability in the penetrance of the fra(x) gene, as well as in the functional organization of the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-35
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Constructional dyspraxia
  • Dyscalculia
  • fra(x) syndrome
  • Gerstmann syndrome
  • Learning disabilities
  • Martin-Bell syndrome
  • X-linked mental retardation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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