Impairment in the cognitive functioning of men with fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS).
ABSTRACT Disorders associated with fragile X syndrome involve a trinucleotide (CGG) repeat expansion in the FMR1 gene. Recently, a progressive movement disorder (fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome [FXTAS]) has been identified in premutation carriers, persons with 55 to 200 CGG repeats. In addition to ataxia, action tremor, and Parkinsonism, early case reports suggested that FXTAS involves impaired cognition, but the precise nature of the impairment has not been elucidated. In this first, preliminary study of the subject, circumscribed aspects of cognitive functioning were examined in 25 men with FXTAS. Subjects' performance on the cognitive tests was compared with normative data. Scores on two measures of executive cognitive functioning showed a high prevalence of substantial impairment. Capacity for inhibition was severely affected in one-quarter of this highly educated sample; information processing speed was profoundly impaired in most subjects. Although mean verbal and performance IQ scores were not significantly different from the general population, they were quite low given the sample's educational level. Cognitive and functional impairment was greater for men with more CGG repeats, although number of repeats was not associated with age of onset of either tremor or ataxia. The results provide evidence that FXTAS involves marked impairment of executive cognitive abilities.
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ABSTRACT: Premutation carriers of the fragile X mental retardation gene (especially men) older than 50 may develop a neurodegenerative disease, the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Carriers may present with varied cognitive impairments. Attention, working memory, declarative and procedural learning, information processing speed, and recall are among the cognitive domains affected. Executive dysfunction is a prominent deficit, which has been demonstrated mostly in men with FXTAS. In more advanced stages of FXTAS, both men and women may develop a mixed cortical-subcortical dementia, manifested by psychomotor slowing and deficits in attention, retrieval, recall, visuospatial skills, occasional apraxia, as well as overt personality changes. Studies have shown dementia rates as high as 37-42% in older men with FXTAS, although more research is needed to understand the prevalence and risk factors of dementia in women with FXTAS. Neuropsychiatric symptoms are common and reflect the dysfunction of underlying frontal-subcortical neural circuits, along with components of the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. These include labile or depressed mood, anxiety, disinhibition, impulsivity, and (rarely) psychotic symptoms. In this paper we review the information available to date regarding the prevalence and clinical picture of FXTAS dementia. Differential diagnosis may be difficult, given overlapping motor and non-motor signs with several other neurodegenerative diseases. Anecdotal response to cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine has been reported, while symptomatic treatments can address the neuropsychiatric manifestations of FXTAS dementia.Current Psychiatry Reviews 02/2013; 9(1):78-84. DOI:10.2174/157340013805289635
Article: Emerging topics in FXTAS[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This paper summarizes key emerging issues in fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) as presented at the First International Conference on the FMR1 Premutation: Basic Mechanisms & Clinical Involvement in 2013.Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 07/2014; 6(31). DOI:10.1186/1866-1955-6-31 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Carriers of the fragile X premutation allele (fXPCs) have an expanded CGG trinucleotide repeat size within the FMR1 gene and are at increased risk of developing fragile x-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). Previous research has shown that male fXPCs with FXTAS exhibit cognitive decline, predominantly in executive functions such as inhibitory control and working memory. Recent evidence suggests fXPCs may also exhibit impairments in processing temporal information. The attentional blink (AB) task is often used to examine the dynamics of attentional selection, but disagreements exist as to whether the AB is due to excessive or insufficient attentional control. In this study, we used a variant of the AB task and neuropsychological testing to explore the dynamics of attentional selection, relate AB performance to attentional control, and determine whether fXPCs exhibited temporal and/or attentional control impairments. Participants were adult male fXPCs, aged 18–48 years and asymptomatic for FXTAS (n = 19) and age-matched male controls (n = 20). We found that fXPCs did not differ from controls in the AB task, indicating that the temporal dynamics of attentional selection were intact. However, they were impaired in the letter-number sequencing task, a test of executive working memory. In the combined fXPC and control group, letter-number sequencing performance correlated positively with AB magnitude. This finding supports models that posit the AB is due to excess attentional control. In our two-pronged analysis approach, in control participants we replicated a previously observed effect and demonstrated that it persists under more stringent theoretical constraints, and we enhance our understanding of fXPCs by demonstrating that at least some aspects of temporal processing may be spared.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 03/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00037 · 2.90 Impact Factor