- Neurodevelopmental disorders affect emotion and learning ability
- They are found to be more common in men than women
- Depression and anxiety affect more females
Neurodevelopmental disorders are referred to a group of disorders which occur as a result of disturbance in the central nervous system. They can include developmental brain dysfunction which can manifest as neuropsychiatric problems or impaired motor function, learning, language or non-verbal communication. According to a new study, sex plays a major role in many neurological and psychiatric disorders like diabetes, hypertension and arthritis. Thus, neurodevelopmental disorders like early-onset schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder affect more males, and depression and anxiety affect more females. Neurodevelopmental disorders are basically disorders of the brain function which affect emotion, learning ability, self-control and memory which unfold as the individual develops and grows.
In order to understand the molecular underpinnings of this disparity, researchers at the University of Maryland focused on the molecule which plays a key role in placental health. The researchers also focused on how stress can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and schizophrenia.
As part of the study, which was published in the Journal of Nature of Communications, it was also found that males are more sensitive to prenatal insults such as gestational stress, maternal infection and exposure to drugs.
What are neurodevelopmental disorders?
To understand neurodevelopmental disorders, it is important to understand the development of nervous system and the different stages that it is in. This will help in understanding the deficits which can arise from abnormal brain development. The impact of neurodevelopmental disorders vary on the time when these abnormalities or damage occurs.
While some neurodevelopmental disorders can be resolved by taking appropriate action, others can be a little chronic. However, adequate intervention is required in order to prevent the condition from getting worse.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), communication disorder, specific learning disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder are the numerous kinds of neurodevelopmental disorders.
ADHD is basically characterised by symptoms of inattention or impulsivity-hyperactivity. It causes lack of attention to detail, committing careless mistakes, getting easily distracted to extraneous stimuli, not being able to follow instructions, difficulty in organizing tasks and activities, carelessness in daily activities, being unable to complete tasks etc.
ADHD is also characterized by hyperactivity and impulsivity. A person may be unable to sit or fidget with hands and feet, has excessive energy, talks excessively, experiences difficulty in playing quietly or calmly. As part of the impulsiveness, a person begins to answer a question before hearing the end of it, interrupts in other's activities and finds it difficult to wait for his or her turn.
2. Specific learning disorders
Specific learning disorders are the ones which interfere with a person's performance in school and hinder the child's progress and achievement of goals in the curriculum. It includes reading, writing and calculation disorder.
3. Communication disorders
Communication disorders appear when language development does not follow the expected pattern or there are significant deficits which occur in aspects of language. Linguistic characteristics of each disorder vary depending on the severity and age of the child. Common kinds of communication disorders include expression disorder, speech disorder, comprehension disorder and stuttering.
4. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
ASDs are characterized by developmental disabilities which can cause serious (sometimes chronic) communication, socialization and behavioral problems. Symptoms of this disorder vary from person to person. Clinical profile of ASD is neither uniform nor demarcated. It continuously oscillates from high to low affect and varies with time. People with ASD process information differently than others and develop different rates in each area.
People suffering from ASD experience persistent difficulties in social communication and behavior. They have excessive adherence to routines and have limited interests.
(With inputs from ANI)