Neurodevelopmental disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are impairments of the growth and development of the brain or central nervous system. A narrower use of the term refers to a disorder of brain function that affects emotion, learning ability, self-control and memory and that unfolds as the individual grows. The term is sometimes erroneously used as an exclusive synonym for autism and autism spectrum disorders. The development of the brain is orchestrated, tightly regulated, and genetically encoded process with clear influence from the environment. This suggests that any deviation from this program early in life can result in neurodevelopmental disorders and, depending on specific timing, might lead to distinct pathology later in life. Because of that, there are many causes of neurodevelopmental disorder, which can range from deprivation, genetic and metabolic diseases, immune disorders, infectious diseases, nutritional factors, physical trauma, and toxic and environmental factors. Some neurodevelopmental disorders—such as autism and other pervasive developmental disorders—are considered multifactorial syndromes (with many causes but more specific neurodevelopmental manifestation).

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