Fragile X premutation in a woman with cognitive impairment, tremor, and history of premature ovarian failure

Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2007 Jul-Sep;21(3):262-4. doi: 10.1097/WAD.0b013e31811ec130.


Few women with Fragile X tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) have been reported. They have milder manifestations at a later age than men. This gender difference may be related to the X inactivation pattern in women. We describe a woman who presented to her geriatrician with poor memory and was found to have ataxia and tremor. Additional queries yielded history of premature ovarian failure. Genetic testing showed heterozygous fragile X mental retardation gene premutation with 103 CGG repeats in the abnormal allele and 31 CGG repeats in the normal allele. Also, the X inactivation pattern was skewed with the active X chromosome predominantly having the premutation allele. We believe that FXTAS is more common in women than is generally thought and that many such patients masquerade as dementia of old age. Action tremor and ataxia associated with a history suggestive of premature ovarian failure should raise suspicions for FXTAS.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / genetics*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Fragile X Syndrome / complications
  • Fragile X Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Fragile X Syndrome / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / genetics*