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Disturbed Growth in Early Life and Later Neurocognitive Development Associated with Psychiatric Disorders

  • Shiro Suda
  • Nori Takei
Chapter

Abstract

Accumulating evidence from neurobiological and epidemiological studies indicates that altered development caused by environmental factors in early life, especially the gestational period, may lead to the development of physical illnesses in adulthood such as type II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. However, recent studies have suggested that altered growth associated with adverse events around the time of birth is a factor that contributes to cognitive dysfunction as well as psychiatric disorders in adulthood, including autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), mood disorders, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Environmental factors in early life, including placental dysfunction, maternal malnutrition during pregnancy, psychological distress in pregnant mothers, and infections during both the gestational and postnatal period, have been associated with alterations in gene expression regulated by epigenetic factors. These alterations have been proposed to trigger permanent changes in the programming of neural cells, whereby the processes of cell proliferation and migration, neuronal growth, synaptogenesis, and myelination would be grossly affected; as a result, individuals may be predisposed to various neurocognitive impairments that in turn can lead to specific neuropsychiatric disorders. In this chapter, we describe the association between growth disturbances in early life and subsequent neurocognitive development, and will focus in particular on early detrimental events, especially those involving nutritional factors, that can affect the development of the central nervous system (CNS) and be associated with the sequelae (i.e., psychiatric disorders) of such damage. Continued examination of the mechanisms underlying the associations between disturbed growth in early life and subsequent consequences in adulthood is expected to yield a better understanding of the pathophysiology of many neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords

Fractional Anisotropy Mood Disorder Personality Disorder ADHD Symptom Pervasive Developmental Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

AD

Alzheimer’s disease

ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

AGA

Appropriate-for-gestational-age

ALA

α-linolenic acid

ASD

Autism Spectrum Disorder

BMI

Body mass index

CNS

Central nervous system

COMT

Catechol-O-methyl transferase

DHA

Docosahexanoic acid

DOHaD

Developmental origins of health and disease

DTI

Diffusion tensor imaging

EPA

Eicosapentaenoic acid

FA

Fractional anisotropy

IUGR

Intrauterine growth restriction

IQ

Intelligence quotient

LBW

Low birthweight

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

LC-PUFA

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid

n-3 FA

Omega-3 family of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid

SGA

Small-for-gestational-age

SNAP-II

Score of neonatal acute physiology II

SNP

Single nucleotide polymorphism

VLBW

Very low birthweight

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Child Mental Development and United Graduate School of Child DevelopmentHamamatsu University School of MedicineHigashi-ku Hamamatsu ShizuokaJapan
  2. 2.Division of Psychological MedicineInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK

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