Facteurs de risque et de protection durant la petite enfance

 

Mayada Elsabbagh

Institut universitaire en santé mentale Douglas

 

Domaine : santé des populations

Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2015-2016

Autism has become one of the most urgent public health challenges in many communities around the world. Central to meeting this challenge is a life-course approach, whereby early identification and intervention are believed to prevent the long-term disabling consequences of autism for the affected individual, and to substantially reduce demands and costs to health and social care systems. We currently know very little about how autism emerges over time and why affected children differ substantially from each other. Therefore, a rapidly growing area of research falls at the crossroads of two exciting disciplines: infancy and autism.

This emerging research draws on innovative basic science, which has in the last decade succeeded in getting answers from babies about their development, cognition, and communication. These advances are now being used for the long-term goal of detecting autism much earlier than currently possible and therefore, reducing its disabling impact within the period of maximal brain plasticity. The proposed project focuses on understanding how genetic risk for autism and related developmental disorders changes early brain development and functioning. Working with community partners and with families, knowledge gained from this research can support early identification of autism.