Research Topic

Aging with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (NDD)

About this Research Topic

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are a group of disorders that manifest early in development but typically persist across a lifespan. Although conceptualized as a childhood disability, NDD has increasingly been recognized as a lifelong neurological condition that could significantly impact adult functioning and quality of life. The aging Baby Boomer generation and increased prevalence of NDDs over the past 50 years have contributed to dramatic increases in the number of middle-aged and older adults living with a NDD. In the U.S., for example, the number of adults aged 65 years and older with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is expected to reach ~700,000 by 2030. This significant increase of middle-aged and older adults with NDD demands precision diagnosis, targeted treatment, and high-quality care that challenges the healthcare system, government decision-making, and community support to be better prepared for patients' needs.

Despite this need, guidelines for aging-related issues to better support adults with NDD have not yet been defined. We do not yet know how and to what extent NDDs are associated with different vulnerabilities to aging in ways that exacerbate neurodegenerative processes. This public health crisis has been recognized by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), Autism-Europe, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in the U.S., and other national and international NDD societies and organizations.

In this Research Topic, we emphasize the need to characterize aging processes in different NDDs in order to promote a fuller understanding of the timing, natural history, and patterns of aging-related issues in adults with NDDs including but not restricted to autism spectrum disorder, Fragile X syndrome, FMR1 premutations, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down Syndrome, or other intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDDs). Reviews and empirical studies of basic mechanisms of degeneration, natural history, epidemiology, clinical outcomes, and interventions in aging of NDDs are invited. Preclinical and clinical studies are welcome.

In this Research Topic, we welcome articles that address the following themes:

1. Natural history of NDD symptoms and identification of risk and prevalence of aging-related conditions in middle-aged and older adults with NDD

2. Development of criteria and instruments to improve screening, early identification, and diagnosis of aging-related issues in adults with NDD

3. Assessments of cognition (including executive function, memory, attention, etc.), affective behavior, sensorimotor control (including oromotor control and breathing), and multisensory integration in middle-aged and older adults with NDD

4. Aging (e.g., the loss of previously acquired skills) and aging-associated comorbidities (e.g., newly evolved medical and/or psychiatric conditions) in middle-aged and older adults with NDD

5. Basic mechanistic studies of neurodegeneration in individuals with NDD or model systems

6. Identification of service and rehabilitative needs for adults with NDD to improve the efficiency of delivery and sustainability of needed services

We welcome all types of accepted articles, including Original Research Articles, Review Articles, Method Articles, Clinical Trials, Case Reports, Mini Review Articles, General Commentaries, Perspectives, and Theories.


Keywords: Aging, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Adult, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fragile X, FMR1, Down Syndrome, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, Rett Syndrome


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) are a group of disorders that manifest early in development but typically persist across a lifespan. Although conceptualized as a childhood disability, NDD has increasingly been recognized as a lifelong neurological condition that could significantly impact adult functioning and quality of life. The aging Baby Boomer generation and increased prevalence of NDDs over the past 50 years have contributed to dramatic increases in the number of middle-aged and older adults living with a NDD. In the U.S., for example, the number of adults aged 65 years and older with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is expected to reach ~700,000 by 2030. This significant increase of middle-aged and older adults with NDD demands precision diagnosis, targeted treatment, and high-quality care that challenges the healthcare system, government decision-making, and community support to be better prepared for patients' needs.

Despite this need, guidelines for aging-related issues to better support adults with NDD have not yet been defined. We do not yet know how and to what extent NDDs are associated with different vulnerabilities to aging in ways that exacerbate neurodegenerative processes. This public health crisis has been recognized by the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO), Autism-Europe, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) in the U.S., and other national and international NDD societies and organizations.

In this Research Topic, we emphasize the need to characterize aging processes in different NDDs in order to promote a fuller understanding of the timing, natural history, and patterns of aging-related issues in adults with NDDs including but not restricted to autism spectrum disorder, Fragile X syndrome, FMR1 premutations, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Down Syndrome, or other intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDDs). Reviews and empirical studies of basic mechanisms of degeneration, natural history, epidemiology, clinical outcomes, and interventions in aging of NDDs are invited. Preclinical and clinical studies are welcome.

In this Research Topic, we welcome articles that address the following themes:

1. Natural history of NDD symptoms and identification of risk and prevalence of aging-related conditions in middle-aged and older adults with NDD

2. Development of criteria and instruments to improve screening, early identification, and diagnosis of aging-related issues in adults with NDD

3. Assessments of cognition (including executive function, memory, attention, etc.), affective behavior, sensorimotor control (including oromotor control and breathing), and multisensory integration in middle-aged and older adults with NDD

4. Aging (e.g., the loss of previously acquired skills) and aging-associated comorbidities (e.g., newly evolved medical and/or psychiatric conditions) in middle-aged and older adults with NDD

5. Basic mechanistic studies of neurodegeneration in individuals with NDD or model systems

6. Identification of service and rehabilitative needs for adults with NDD to improve the efficiency of delivery and sustainability of needed services

We welcome all types of accepted articles, including Original Research Articles, Review Articles, Method Articles, Clinical Trials, Case Reports, Mini Review Articles, General Commentaries, Perspectives, and Theories.


Keywords: Aging, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Adult, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fragile X, FMR1, Down Syndrome, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, Rett Syndrome


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
31 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
31 March 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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