Research, Education, Personalised medicine, Training

 

Why this network?

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD) are a group of disorders impairing the development of the nervous system, leading to abnormal brain function which affect emotion, communication, motor ability, learning ability, self-control and memory.  The effects of NDD tend to last for a person’s entire lifetime. According to the DSM-V, NDD include attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), Motor disorders including developmental coordination disorder and streotypic movement disorders (DCD) and communication, speech and language disorders (LD). There is a clinical overlap between these conditions, and shared determinants.

 

Amongst NDD, ASD are affecting 1% of the population and are characterized by social communication impairment associated with repetitive and stereotyped patterns of interests and behaviours. The clinical presentation and the developmental trajectory are very heterogeneous. While early intervention might improve the prognosis, there are very few standardized clinical and biological markers for diagnosing ASD before 18 months. Currently, the diagnosis of ASD is possible during childhood around 2 years, but nearly 50% of the cases are identified much later, around 6 years of age. Moreover, individuals with ASD have an increased risk of premature morbidity and mortality. Thus, it is crucial to improve knowledge on ASD genesis and aging.

 

The complexity of ASD pathophysiology associated with the heterogeneity of genetics factors, environmental factors, and their interrelation, make the prevention, medical care and research in NDD/ASD challenging.

 

 

Objectives of our network

To gather clinic and research actors and improve the link between diagnosis and treatment, clinical and fundamental research area, academic and practitioner's training.

 

 

Presentation of our network

Our network brings together 18 clinical teams (including 6 experts, reference or expertise centers on NDD), 19 research teams from 5 research institutes (IRBM, INM, IGF, IGH, IGMM), the local ethics committee and the Paul Valéry University for expertise in the social sciences and ethics. This grouping provides a critical number of clinicians and around 150 researchers who are committed to excellence, ensuring international visibility and competitiveness.

 

The translational orientation of the network is supported by local excellence in biology and health, access to experimental models, and the support of Muse, the FHU Neurosciences and pole Rabelais Biology and health. The involvement of the Center of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Diseases (CoeN) in Montpellier contributes to the synergy of research activities and a greater transversality of themes. Our strengths include:

 

- confirmed experience in setting up and monitoring prospective epidemiological cohorts of autistic persons (ELENA, EPITED, EFAAR) in a whole-life approach (from the prenatal period to aging)

 

- baseline structured data (800 participants in ELENA) and the ability to build first-plan biological collections within an accredited CRB

 

- access to clinical and technological platforms (CHU-Platforms, Biocampus) particularly focused on proteomic biomarkers (PPC, FPP) and specific experimental models, favorable to the translational project

 

- the active involvement of families in the governance of our studies such as ELENA

 

- many academic courses and education activities on NDD for a wide range of students from multiple disciplines (DU, AFREE).