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MIND Institute researchers receive $1 million grant to study cognitive training in fragile X
Date:2/13/2013

Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute will examine whether children and youth with fragile X syndrome can improve their working memory, cognition and behavior by using an online computer-based cognitive training program, through a new $1 million grant from The John Merck Fund.

To conduct the innovative study, the researchers will travel to the homes of school-aged children around the country to instruct their families on how to use the program and deliver the intervention, called Cogmed , software designed to improve working memory that is marketed by Pearson Education.

The grant was made through The John Merck Fund's Translational Research Program in developmental disabilities, which supports innovative research in developing treatments and improving outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities, particularly Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.

"I am very grateful to The John Merck Fund to have the chance to learn whether this type of training can help children with fragile X," said David Hessl, a researcher at the MIND Institute and the study's principal investigator. "I've been in the fragile X field and enjoyed working with families for many years and am excited to have the opportunity to lead a study that could help improve their lives."

Hessl said that the study, launching early this year, will be the first to evaluate whether a computer-based cognitive training program can be effective in improving the working-memory skills, and possibly behavior, of people with fragile X syndrome.

"Although many medication trials are going on now, there never have been controlled studies of enhancing cognitive functioning in people with fragile X through behavioral training," said Hessl, who also is associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of intellectual impairment, formerly termed mental retardation,
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Contact: Phyllis Brown
phyllis.brown@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9023
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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