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

and is the leading known single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorder. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 in 4,000 males and 1 in 6,000 to 8,000 females have the disorder.

"There have been surprisingly few attempts to evaluate the efficacy of behavioral or educational interventions for individuals with fragile X syndrome," said Leonard Abbeduto, director of the MIND Institute. "Moreover, the few tested have been very limited in scope. Dr. Hessl's extension of Cogmed is exciting, because it is a comprehensive program that can be delivered at a high dose in the home and consequently at low burden for families."

Hessl and his colleagues hope that the intervention can be effective because it targets working memory, a serious deficit for individuals with fragile X syndrome. Hessl is collaborating with fellow MIND Institute researcher Julie Schweitzer, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and an ADHD expert.

"I am very much looking forward to working on this project," Schweitzer said. "It is a carefully designed study and a wonderful extension of the previous work testing the effects of cognitive training in other populations with executive functioning impairments."

The goal of the new four-year grant will be to determine whether cognitive/behavioral training can be effective and, eventually, whether it can complement new medications under development to treat patients with fragile X.

The study will involve 100 children with fragile X between 8 and 18 years who will receive baseline assessment and training in their home. The participants will be divided into two groups, one that will receive a version of Cogmed that becomes increasingly challenging and one that does not. Families in both groups will deliver the intervention five days a week for six weeks. Researchers will check in periodically with families at distant locations via a telemedicine c
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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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