According to recent news reports, pharmaceutical giants like Roche, Novartis, and Seaside Therapeutics are racing to make medications that will relieve some of the behavioral problems caused by autism and Fragile X syndrome.
The first thing that needs to be cleared up is that autism – or the autistic spectrum, which might include pervasive developmental disorders or Asperger syndrome – is different from Fragile X syndrome. Fragile X is an inherited intellectual disability in boys that is caused by a change in the gene FMR1 on the X chromosome. The condition results in the failure to express FMRP – a protein needed for normal neural development. While Fragile X syndrome has similar symptoms to autism, it differs in that it has a very well described genetic underpinning.