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Brain Cogn. 2010 Mar;72(2):197-201. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.08.010. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

The perception of biological and mechanical motion in female fragile X premutation carriers.

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Semmelweis University, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Budapest, Hungary.


Previous studies reported impaired visual information processing in patients with fragile X syndrome and in premutation carriers. In this study, we assessed the perception of biological motion (a walking point-light character) and mechanical motion (a rotating shape) in 25 female fragile X premutation carriers and in 20 healthy non-carrier controls. Stimuli were moving stimulus dots embedded among a cloud of noise dots. Sensitivity (d') for motion detection was determined. Emotional symptoms were assessed by Hamilton's depression and anxiety rating scales. Results revealed that the premutation carriers displayed lower sensitivities for biological and mechanical motion relative to the non-carriers. This deficit was more pronounced in the case of biological stimuli. The premutation carriers displayed higher depression and anxiety scores relative to the non-carriers. Higher depression, but not anxiety, scores were associated with decreased sensitivity for biological, but not mechanical, motion in the carrier group. These results suggest that motion perception deficits are detectable in fragile X premutation carriers, and that the impairment of biological motion perception is associated with depressive symptoms.

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