Mental health

Neurodevelopmental disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are a group of disorders that affect the development of the nervous system, leading to abnormal brain function which may affect emotion, learning ability, self-control, and memory. The deficit ranges from very specific learning limitations to the global impairment of social and cognitive skills.

Intellectual disability, communication disorders, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, specific learning disorder and movement disorders have been included in neurodevelopmental disorders. This complex of disturbances entails a great health, social and economic burden.

The Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) conducts research on neurodevelopmental disorders by a multidisciplinary approach including pre-clinical (animal models), clinical (population cohorts followed over time) and epidemiological studies. These studies aim to understand the processes underlying biological bases of these disorders, their onset and to develop innovative strategies for prevention, diagnosis and therapy.