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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 1996 Mar;2(2):159-76.

The neuropsychology of mental retardation.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


This critical review examines mental retardation (MR) from a neuropsychological perspective. Competing definitions of MR are discussed and the prevalence is estimated. Descriptions are given of idiopathic MR and the five major identifiable prenatal causes of MR: fetal alcohol syndrome, Down's syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Angelman syndrome. Similarities and differences among syndromes are examined. Cognitive deficits common to all disorders were in attention, short-term memory, and sequential information processing, whereas language and visuospatial abilities were varied. Neuroanatomical abnormalities common to all disorders were in the hippocampus and cerebellum; individual disorders typically showed a unique pattern of other neurological abnormalities. Both knowledge of individual MR-related disorders and comparative research between disorders are important for researchers and clinicians. Further research is called for in both areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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