Posted by Claudia Grazioso on May 24, 2012
At a certain point in parenthood, you are pretty certain you know about every disorder, possible problem, hidden danger and proven carcinogen. (Especially when you write about them on a weekly basis.) So I was surprised recently when the topic of genetic conditions came up and there were actually a few that I hadn’t heard very much about. I decided to look into them, starting with a condition called Fragile X, which is the most common cause of inherited mental disability in boys.
Fragile X is caused by a change in the FMR1 gene on the X chromosome. FMR1 helps to make a protein that enables the brain to grow. Fragile X affects girls as well as boys, but girls tend to have much milder symptoms because they have two X chromosomes, unlike boys who have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome. Interestingly, Fragile X (which is also sometimes called Martin-Bell Syndrome) has also been linked to autism.
If you are concerned about your child having Fragile X, some symptoms to watch out for are a baby who has a delay in crawling or walking, a child who is very impulsive or hyperactive and a child who avoids eye contact. There might also be speech and language delays. Additionally, some children with Fragile X have physical symptoms like poor muscle tone, a large body and flat feet. If you have concerns about your child’s development and you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
There are no known cures for Fragile X, but some patients do take medication to treat anxiety and hyperactivity. Early intervention offers some good options for kids with Fragile X. If your child is diagnosed with this condition, speech therapy can help him or her to learn to use language to communicate more effectively, and it might also help them to speak more clearly. Additionally, consider looking into occupational and physical therapy. Physical therapy can help your child gain better control over their muscles and improve their balance.
If your child is diagnosed with Fragile X, talk to your doctor and look into all of the therapies and treatment options available.