With a $60,000 grant from FRAXA Research Foundation from 1998-2000, Dr. Don Bailey and his team at the University of North Carolina explored the role of arousal in individuals that are affected by Fragile X syndrome.
Jane Roberts, PhD
FRAXA Postdoctoral Fellow
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.