In an effort once considered unimaginable, scientists are testing a series of drugs which they hope will improve the mental abilities of individuals with fragile X syndrome.

Unlike currently available drugs that treat symptoms of fragile X — like anxiety — the new medications now in trials are designed to address core components of the disorder. The idea is not to cure fragile X, but rather to improve the mental functioning abilities of those who have it.

Fragile X is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability and many people with the disorder also have autism, so the implications of such drugs are far reaching, researchers say.

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For parents like Sandy Britt, the promise of life-altering medication offers hope. Her son, Shawn Helbig, 27, is currently enrolled in a clinical trial for one of the drugs. Though they don’t know if he’s actually receiving the medication or taking a placebo, they say Shawn has been communicating more easily and making better eye contact since he started taking the daily pill.

“This pill gives every parent hope,” Britt told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “If it’s 5 years or 10 years or 2 years, you can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” To read more click  here.

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