About this Research Topic
Neuronal plasticity plays a central role in the developmental process of the central nervous system. For example, the regulation of synaptic plasticity by GABAergic interneurons (the so-called “gatekeeper function”) changes significantly between childhood to adulthood. The lower level of GABAergic inhibition in children may enhance synaptic plasticity and therefore contributes to neuronal sprouting and facilitated learning. A lot of evidence in this field stems from animal studies. In humans, imaging and neurophysiological studies in pre-terms, infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents have increased our knowledge about the development of neuronal structures and functions dramatically. However, open questions still remain. What are the exact mechanisms of synaptic plasticity changes during early development, how are these processes regulated and how do they contribute to the variability of cognitive and motor development? How do environmental influences modulate this neuronal development? Answering these questions and improving our knowledge of normal development will lead to a better understanding of developmental disorders.
Altered neuronal plasticity has been increasingly recognized as a key pathomechanism in neurological disorders of children and adults. Growing evidence shows that developmental disorders go ahead with impaired neuronal plasticity. Using genetic tools such as whole exome sequencing pathways, underlying pathophysiology can be identified, leading to the development of new therapeutic strategies in terms of pathway-specific neuromodulation. Although there are promising first results, new therapeutic strategies targeting impaired neuronal plasticity in developmental disorders are needed. Besides pharmacological neuromodulation, invasive and non-invasive brain stimulation is well established in adults with neurological and psychiatric diseases and is increasingly also applied to children. Indications, therapy strategies, and new stimulation techniques will be presented and discussed in this Research Topic.
We welcome Original Research articles and Reviews that focus on the following topics (animal studies and human studies):
1. Aspects of neuronal plasticity in development and developmental disorders
2. Identifying targets for pharmacological and non-pharmacological neuromodulation
3. Measurement, identification, and evaluation of neuroplasticity
4. The identification of clinical markers for altered neuronal plasticity
5. Strategies for pharmacological and non-pharmacological neuromodulation
6. New techniques of invasive and non-invasive brain stimulation
7. Clinical studies of neuromodulation, outcome studies
Keywords: Brain Stimulation, Neuromodulation, Neuronal Plasticity, Movement Disorders, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Development, Developmental Disorders
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