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Showing posts from June, 2010

What is a “neurodevelopmental disorder”?

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This question arose at the recent, excellent meeting of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience in Estoril, Portugal.The question came up due to some very exciting and very unexpected successes in reversing in adult animals the effects of mutations causing neurodevelopmental disorders, including neurofibromatosis, Down syndrome, Rett syndrome and tuberous sclerosis.
All of these disorders are caused by specific genetic lesions and characterised by very early deficits, variously including intellectual disability, autism, epilepsy and other psychological and neurological phenotypes.They are also associated with some degree of neuropathology, usually involving differences in the elaboration of neuronal morphology, branching and connectivity.Because of the early onset of symptoms, these disorders have traditionally been considered as being due to defects in neurodevelopmentthat have led to a permanently structurally compromised brain.The last thing most people would have e…