Improve understanding of the overlap of disorders and identify neurobiological underpinnings (WP1, WP4). Using combinations of population registries we will study the co-occurrence of the neurodevelopmental disorders, its socio-economic consequences and functional implications. Using novel phenotyping methods in child and adult patient cohorts, we will increase knowledge of neuropsychological deficits underlying the overlap.
Improve understanding of the role and mechanisms of environmental disease risk factors (WP1, WP2). Registry-based research will clarify which environments are risk factors for neurodevelopmental morbidity and comorbidity. Through epigenetic studies in mice and humans we will study how environments influence disease risk and interact with genetic predisposition. We will investigate the gut microbiome as a behavioural modulator.
Development of a complementary battery of novel cell, animal and human models, and mapping of pathways from gene to disease/comorbidity (WP3, WP1, WP2). A largely neglected area of psychiatric research is the development of model systems that enable us to understand how genes contribute to disease symptoms. The efficient and effective use of both in vitro and animal models requires a delicate balancing act between the need for high-throughput, cheap and fast models on the one hand and validity on the other. The ability to translate information to other species due to conserved brain regions and signalling pathways is also critical. Importantly, no single model can fulfil all those requirements. Rather, optimal staggering and complementary use of cell models, Drosophila, zebrafish, and mouse models, in combination with human imaging genetics and behavioural genetics is indispensable and requires a network of collaborative experts, which is a key strength of this ETN.
Development of novel approaches for prediction of prognosis and prevention (WP2, WP4, WP1). We will work towards developing cognitive, neuroimaging-based and/or blood-derived biomarkers for ADHD, ASD and their comorbidity – to better predict disease prognosis and outcome.
Development of novel approaches towards treatment (WP4, WP2, WP3). Disease models and knowledge established through MIND will provide a unique opportunity to identify common pathways and molecular themes that can be targeted in genetically heterogeneous patients with ADHD and/or ASD. We will use drug testing in zebrafish to identify leads for novel treatments. Investigation of the microbiome and of the effects of mindfulness on ADHD and ASD might identify non-pharmacological treatment options.