Top ten discoveries of the year: Neurodevelopmental disorders

  • Mara Dierssen Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG); The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Keywords: in utero diffusion magnetic resonance imaging, in utero diffusion tensor imaging, RNA editing, Retrotransposons, Brain organoids, Single cell omics


Developmental brain disorders, a highly heterogeneous group of disorders with a prevalence of around 3% of worldwide population, represent a growing medical challenge. They are characterized by impaired neurodevelopmental processes leading to deficits in cognition, social interaction, behavior and motor functioning as a result of abnormal development of brain. This can include developmental brain dysfunction, which can manifest as neuropsychiatric problems or impaired motor function, learning, language or non-verbal communication. Several of these phenotypes can often co-exist in the same patient and characterize the same disorder. Here I discuss some contributions in 2019 that are shaking our basic understanding of the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental disorders. Recent developments in sophisticated in-utero imaging diagnostic tools have raised the possibility of imaging the fetal human brain growth, providing insights into the developing anatomy and improving diagnostics but also allowing a better understanding of antenatal pathology. On the other hand, advances in our understanding of the pathogenetic mechanisms reveal a remarkably complex molecular neuropathology involving a myriad of genetic architectures and regulatory elements that will help establish more rigorous genotype-phenotype correlations.

How to Cite
Dierssen, M. (2020). Top ten discoveries of the year: Neurodevelopmental disorders. Free Neuropathology, 1, 13.