According to new research, some neurological disorders may be reversible. In a study, doctors were able to counter the effects of a genetic disorder called fragile X syndrome in the brains of mice.
The most common inherited intellectual disability in boys and men, fragile X, caused by an abnormality in a gene found on the X chromosome, can lead to delayed crawling, biting or clapping the hands, impulsive behavior, language delay and avoidance of eye contact. It affects about one in 3600 boys, with about six times as many men being carriers for the condition.
Currently, fragile X is untreatable, although treatments for the attention deficit, hyperactivity, and anxiety often stemming from it are effective. However, in mice, a drug targeting the proteins in the brain associated with fragile X proved effective not only in juveniles but also in full-grown adults.
Although the drug in question is not expected to be tested in human patients, other drugs targeting the same protein, which is called mGlu5, are being investigated. The results of the mouse study strongly suggest that these researchers are on the right track.