U of M Doctors Trying to Learn More About Fragile X Syndrome

Updated: 10/18/2012 6:33 PM KSTP.com By: Joy Lim Nakrin

Researchers at the University of Minnesota are trying to learn more about a rare disorder.

Fragile X Syndrome is a chromosomal abnormality which can cause intellectual, emotional and physical disabilities. There is no cure, but doctors at the University of Minnesota's Fragile X Clinic have joined a national network working towards better treatment. They are sharing their research with specialists nationwide.

According to Dr. Amy Esler of the University of Minnesota's Fragile X Clinic, the syndrome "is a genetic mutation and it affects part of the X chromosome... The long arm of the X chromosome has chunks of DNA that repeat, and the number of repeats you have determines whether you have Fragile X Syndrome."

Dr. Esler, like many other researchers, hopes that new drugs, such as Arbaclofen could treat the underlying condition. She explains that the drugs are "ways of turning that protein back on or putting it back into the system so that the neurons are making better connections, talking to each other better." Testing is still underway, and the Dr. Esler says it will be years before the drugs are available.