Date of Award

Summer 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Jessica Klusek

Abstract

Women with the FMR1 premutation appear to be at increased risk for executive dysfunction. Findings in this regard have been mixed, leading to controversy surrounding the executive phenotype. Inhibitory deficits have been a more consistently documented component of this cognitive profile (Klusek et al., 2020; Shelton et al., 2014). This study aimed to clarify the executive phenotype through use of the antisaccade task, a well referenced eye-tracking paradigm that targets oculomotor inhibition and motor control and imposes time constraints that may increase sensitivity to executive deficits in women with the FMR1 premutation. The effects of aging were examined in both groups on performance in this paradigm, as emerging research has referenced cognitive decline with age in the FMR1 premutation. Participants included 35 women with the FMR1 premutation and 27 control women. Decreased abilities in both the motor and inhibitory command portion of this task were exhibited by women with the FMR1 premutation. Longer latency was also associated with older age in the FMR1 premutation group, suggesting premature aging in this population. These findings may elucidate the underpinnings of this phenotype, inform age-related decline in this population, and provide information to successfully target these deficits in order to improve quality of life

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