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Research Axes

Brain and Child Development

Mission and themes

The CHU Sainte-Justine is the major pediatric center in Quebec for the clinical evaluation of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disability, epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders. A second important focus is to understand the development of psychopathologies. It has been estimated that one out of five children has attention or communication problems, anxiety, is hyperactive of impulsive or shows aggressive behaviour before adolescence.

Researchers within the axis have diverse expertise in neuroscience and developmental psychopathology and take advantage of data from longitudinal studies to provide breakthroughs in diagnostics as well as management and interventions for these complex diseases. The main goals of this integrated research program are to:

  1. identify genetic and environmental determinants of neurodevelopmental disorders;
  2. understand the impact of these determinants on the development of neuronal circuits;
  3. characterize neurodevelopment phenotypes in children using diverse approaches including imaging, electrophysiology and neuropsychological approaches with the goal to find biomarkers allowing early diagnosis and intervention of children at risk; and
  4. combine the data obtained through patient phenotypes and functional analysis to inform the development of new therapeutic approaches/interventions.

For example, our researchers have demonstrated that the pre-adolescent difficulties are good predictors for several forms of psychopathologies, including depression, substance addiction, anxiety or borderline syndrome, emerging at adolescent or adult age. Different large initiatives have been put in place such as the Co-Venture Project, a cluster randomized trial investigating the effects of delaying the onset of substance use on adolescent cognitive development, involving several high schools in the Montréal area.

Researchers from the axis have a leadership role within the GRIP (Groupe de recherche et d’intervention psychosociale), a multidisciplinary group that contributes to the understanding of the development of adjustment problems in children and youths, and to the identification of the most effective means to prevent these problems. GRIP researchers work with families, school personnel and school boards. They have established partnerships with provincial and federal departments, and private foundations, to conduct longitudinal studies and transfer new knowledge to policy makers, and to the public.



Neurodevelopmental diseases

Development of psychopathologies

About this page
Updated on 10/16/2018
Created on 8/8/2014
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