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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 1998 Mar;56(1):18-23.

Fragile X syndrome. Clinical, electroencephalographic and neuroimaging characteristics.

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Departamento de Neurologia, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas (FCM) da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP), Brasil.


We studied 11 patients (9 males) with cytogenetic diagnosis of fragile X syndrome (FXS) with the purpose of investigating the neural circuitry involved in this condition. The ages ranged from 8 to 19. All the individuals presented large ears, elongated faces and autistic features. Ten patients had severe mental retardation. Attention disorder was found in 10 individuals. Electroencephalographic recordings were abnormal in 6 of 10 patients examined, showing focal epileptiform discharges predominantly in frontal and parietal areas. All patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging studies which were abnormal in 8 of them. The most important abnormalities were reduction of the cerebellar vermis and enlargement of the IV ventricle. Single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) was performed in 7 patients and was abnormal in all of them, the most frequent finding being a hypoperfusion of the inferior of the frontal lobes. Based on the clinical picture, neuropsychological findings and functional and structural imaging studies we suggest that FXS presents with a dysfunction involving a large area of the central nervous system: cerebellum-basal frontal regions-parietal lobes. The literature points to a disturbance involving the same neural circuitry in patients with autism.

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