Identifier les mécanismes et les facteurs de risque précoces des troubles neurodeveloppementaux pour étudier leur évolution et intervenir efficacement

 

Sarah Lippé

Université de Montréal

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2017-2018

Neurodevelopmental disorders (i.e., autism, intellectual disability, epilepsy, learning disability) affect over 10% of Canadians. Despite extensive research on neurodevelopmental disorders, intervention methods are severely lacking. The lack of success of intervention studies could be linked to a non-optimal time window of intervention. In fact, decades of studies in neuroscience have produced strong evidence that intervention would be optimal early in development, when the brain is most plastic. Unfortunately, children are diagnosed too late, often after age 3 years.

The objectives of my research program are to develop tools that would identify neurodevelopmental disorders early in development to optimise intervention and to reach a comprehensive understanding of the consequences of diverse risk factors on the child's developmental trajectory.
 
Using non invavise and low cost methods (EEG, ultrasound, eye tracking), we have demonstrated that our measures are the reflection of cognitive levels of individuals with an intellectual disability. Now, we test the sensitivity of our measures in babies at risk for abnormal development.

This research program findings can be rapidly transferred to clinical practice in developing countries as assessment tools of both pharmacological and behavioural treatments' efficacy as well as for early screening. Finally, this research program will enable deeper investigations into the neurodevelopmental trajectories of infants and a more comprehensive understanding of the contributing risk factors.