Neurodevelopment Case Study

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Background
Neurodevelopment is defined as “the dynamic inter-relationship between genetic, brain, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes across the developmental lifespan [1].” Neurodevelopmental disorders are defined as a group of conditions caused by damage to the neurological development process which cause long term delays in development. These disorders normally begin in infancy, when development is most crucial, and remain fairly consistent throughout adulthood. Neurodevelopmental disorders include but are not limited to the following: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Rett Syndrome (RTT), developmental coordination disorder (DCD), cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities (ID), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
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Because of the comorbidity among these disorders, it is hypothesized that there is a common factor that influences these disorders [3]. The question that arises from this is if the factor is genetic or environmental? A 2013 study by Pettersson, looked to answer this question. In this study, parents of 9 and 12 year old Swedish twin pairs, 2,906 monozygotic pairs and 3,689 (same sex) dizygotic pairs, were interviewed and asked questions about their children’s mental and physical health. Examples of questions about the children included: “Often have difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities,” “Difficulty shifting plan or strategy when this is required,” and “Likes to repeat words and expressions or uses words in a way that other people find strange.” All questions were associated with 11 different categories including: inattention, hyperactivity/impulse, learning, planning and organization, memory, motor control, perception, language, social interaction, flexibility, and tics. Structural equation modeling was then used on 6,595 pairs to examine the genetic and environmental factors of the 53 neurodevelopmental symptoms. Results showed that there was a broad genetic factor that influenced all 53 neurodevelopmental symptoms. There was also a stronger similarity among monozygotic twins when compared to dizygotic twins, which further …show more content…
[5, 6] This pervasive developmental disorder Autism spectrum disorder is more prevalent in males than in females and has recently gained more attention because of its rapid increase in prevalence [5,6]. Today, it is estimated that 69.5 per 10,000 people are on the autism spectrum [6]. Autism spectrum disorder is also comorbid with many other disorders including intellectual disabilities [6]. In a study consisting of 50 toddlers with autism spectrum disorder, brain structure was examines particularly looking at white matter. This study look at the comparison of children with autism spectrum disorder and children with a different type of developmental disability [5]. It was found that children with autism spectrum disorder have a larger volume of white matter than children with a different type of developmental disability. This was consistent with findings that used children without any type of disability as their control [5]. This, along with other brain differences, suggest that the cognitive and behavioral symptoms associated with autism are related to the difference in neuroanatomy in a child with autism spectrum disorder

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