Brain development and plasticity
Martinez-Morga, M., Martinez, S.
Revista De Neurologia 2016; 62: 3-8
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Neurodevelopmental disorders are associated to functional anomalies of the brain that become manifest early on in life. Traditionally, they have been related almost exclusively to the appearance of intellectual disability and delayed psychomotor development. The causes of these disorders have been partially described, and include anomalies due to genetic causes (Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, etc.), exposure to toxic factors during pregnancy (foetal alcohol syndrome), infections (cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, etc.) or other alterations, including a status of great immaturity at birth (very preterm). Epidemiological data based on a better knowledge of the diseases affecting the central nervous system suggest that some mental disorders, which appear in adolescence or early adulthood, also have their origin in anomalies in brain development. This review aims to offer an overview of brain development. Some of the cellular and molecular processes that may account for the similarities and differences in the phenotypes that generate alterations affecting normal development are also analysed. The study is conducted with a view to clearly identifying processes that are susceptible to modification by means of therapeutic intervention consisting in an early care programme