FRAXA Grant to Don Bailey, PhD — University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Don Bailey, PhD, at University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, FRAXA research grantwith Jane Roberts, PhD, FRAXA Postdoctoral Fellow

 

FRAXA Awards:

$30,000 in 2000
$30,000 in 1999
$30,000 in 1998

 

The Bailey group studies the longitudinal development of children, with a focus on educational strategies and development of language. They have contributed greatly to our understanding of the course of fragile X over a lifetime, as well as the frequency of autism and other behavioral complications in the fragile X population.

 

Longitudinal Study of Children with Fragile X

by Don Bailey, 10/1/2000

The Carolina Fragile X Project has been following a longitudinal sample of children with fragile X syndrome since the preschool years. The oldest children in the study are now ready to enter middle school. This grant provides one year of interim funding to maintain contact with the families in the study and, in combination with other funding sources, to conduct one annual assessment for each of 67 students. The study will assess the academic and adaptive skills of students with fragile X as they enter middle school, the extent to which they participate in and feel a sense of belonging to school and community groups, and the extent to which they develop social relationships with other children. For those children who enter middle school this year, we will also interview families to find out more about the challenges associated with that transition.

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Psychophysiological Measures of Arousal: Documentation of Treatment Effects & Impact of Disability

by Jane Roberts, 7/1/1998

Clinical observations suggest that high levels of arousal (alertness) or the inability to normally modulate arousal affect many individuals with fragile X syndrome. In fact, many of the cognitive, social, and behavior problems associated with fragile X syndrome have been linked to high levels of arousal (hyperarousal). However, there has been virtually no experimental work evaluating and describing this phenomenon.

This project investigates the usefulness of heart activity data and cortisol levels as measures of arousal in boys with fragile X syndrome. Specific aims of this study are to: find the best method for documenting arousal; examine how arousal is related to behavioral and psychological functioning; quantify the relationship between protein production (FMRP) and arousal, and determine how physiological indices of arousal relate to selected classes of medications including sympatholytics and stimulants.

Information about the nature and impact of arousal in boys affected by fragile X syndrome has important implications for the assessment and treatment of these children. Because we know that behavioral and psychological functioning is negatively impacted by both high and low levels of arousal in individuals unaffected by fragile X syndrome, it is important to determine the role of arousal in individuals that are affected by fragile X syndrome. Hopefully, we will learn about the ways in which arousal affects boys with fragile X syndrome and how selected classes of medication are effective in regulating arousal.