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J Neurodev Disord. 2014;6(1):29. doi: 10.1186/1866-1955-6-29. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Visual motion processing deficits in infants with the fragile X premutation.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95618, USA ; Center for Mind and Brain, University of California Davis, 202 Cousteau Place, Suite 250, Davis, CA 95618, USA.
2
Department of Psychology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95618, USA ; Center for Mind and Brain, University of California Davis, 202 Cousteau Place, Suite 250, Davis, CA 95618, USA ; M.I.N.D. Institute, University of California Medical Center, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) results from a trinucleotide repeat expansion (full mutation >200 cytosine-guanine-guanine (CGG) repeats) in the FMR1 gene, leading to a reduction or absence of the gene's protein product, fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), ultimately causing cognitive and behavioral impairments that are characteristic of the syndrome. In our previous work with infants and toddlers with FXS, we have been able to describe much about their cognitive and visual processing abilities. In light of recent work on the mild cognitive deficits and functional and structural brain differences that are present in adults with the fragile X (FX) premutation, in the present study we examined whether some of the low-level visual processing deficits we have observed in infants with FXS would also be present in infants with the FX premutation (55-200 CGG repeats).

METHODS:

We chose a contrast detection task using second-order motion stimuli on which infants with FXS previously showed significantly increased detection thresholds (Vision Res 48:1471-1478, 2008). Critically, we also included a developmental delay comparison group of infants with Down syndrome (DS), who were matched to infants with FXS on both chronological and mental age, to speak to the question of whether this second-order motion processing deficit is a FX-specific phenomenon.

RESULTS:

As reported previously, infants with the FX full mutation showed motion contrast detection threshold levels that were significantly higher than age-matched typically developing control infants. Strikingly, the motion detection contrast levels of FX premutation infants were also significantly higher than typically developing (TD) infants and not significantly different from the group of infants with FXS or with DS.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results, which are in keeping with a growing body of evidence on the mild cognitive and perceptual processing deficits and functional and structural brain differences that are present in adults and older children with the FX premutation, underscore the pressing need to study and describe the processing capabilities of infants and toddlers with the FX premutation.

KEYWORDS:

Contrast detection; Fragile X syndrome; Premutation; Visual processing deficits

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