Mental Retardation Research

(Also Known As: Retardation Research, Down Syndrome Research, Learning Disability Research, Mentally Retarded Research, Borderline Mental Retardation Research, Autism Mental Retardation Research)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

Current Research on Mental Retardation

Recent advances in human genome sequencing led to the discovery of a gene which can cause mental retardation. The objective behind genome sequencing is to develop an understanding of human disorders 6.

It was revealed through the Human Genome Project that various genetic defects can bring about non-specific mental retardation, which includes a kind of mutation on the X chromosome which generally affects the male population. Since patients with various mutations can have identical symptoms, identifying separate genes for MR is difficult.

Scientists working on the Human Genome Project have pinpointed seven X-linked genes whose defects can bring about non-specific mental retardation. Approximately 20-100 of such variety of genes have been discovered on the X-chromosome and hundreds more thriving on the entire human genome. Majority of the pinpointed genes are active in intracellular signaling and are located in the hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for human memory.

With technologies such as DNA arrays, scientists are optimistic that all genes causing mental retardation can be pinpointed. This would bring into perspective the causes of mental retardation as well as the functions of the healthy human brain.

Several studies revealed that using psychotherapy in the treatment of individuals with mental retardation can be effective in providing an improvement of their coping skills, as well as in reducing psychopathologic symptoms. Psychotherapeutic approaches must be geared towards identification of needs, communication of feelings, and coping with internal conflicts and outside stress 7.

Likewise, studies have revealed that group therapy can be effective in the treatment of people with mental retardation. This therapeutic approach offers several benefits. The members of the group can have a chance to discuss similar issues and communicate with other individuals who are having similar circumstance, feelings, and objectives. Group therapy can help foster group cohesion and peer support.

Could You Have Mental Retardation?

Mental Retardation Topics

Related Conditions

Asperger's Syndrome – restricted social interaction, repetitive behavior, non-verbal communication deficit, lacking empathy, clumsiness
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – neurobehavioral developmental disorder, inattention, impulsiveness, hyperactivity, chronic childhood disorder
Autism – impaired social interaction, communication deficit, brain developmental disorder
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – developmental delay in language, motor skills and social function, autism, delayed motor skills
Learning Disorders – delayed development of functional skills, difficulty in organization of thoughts, academic skill deficits
Rett's Disorder – cognitive impairment, reduced socialization skills, lack of social interest
Selective Mutism – reluctant to speak even with speech ability, anxiety, autism, Asperger’s Syndrome