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Neurodevelopmental disorders

Guest Editors:
Michael Absoud: King's College London, United Kingdom
Victoria Cosgrove: Stanford University, United States
Kirsty Donald: University of Cape Town, South Africa

BMC Medicine called for submissions to our Collection on Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD).

This special article collection encouraged global contributions aiming to improve the understanding, identification, and management of NDD and pave the way towards comprehensive care and well-being in patients with NDD. We also welcomed life-course studies that seek to delineate the complex pathophysiology of NDD and investigate the social and environmental effects of influencing factors. Building on our current article collection on ‘Maternal factors during pregnancy influencing maternal, fetal and childhood outcomes,’ a particular focus is on exploring maternal factors in neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring, including pre-existing conditions, environmental exposures, and genetic predisposition.

Articles will be published as soon as they are proofed post-acceptance.

Meet the Guest Editors

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Michael Absoud: King's College London, United Kingdom
Dr. Michael Absoud is a consultant in Paediatric Neurodisability at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, and an Honorary Reader at the Department of Women & Children’s Health at King’s College London. His research focuses on translational and implementation science in childhood neurodevelopmental, neurogenetic and acquired neurologic disorders.

Victoria Cosgrove: Stanford University, United States
Dr. Victoria Cosgrove is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Her work advances clinical medicine by concentrating on ways that individual biological and psychological responses to social stress impact health and well-being. She serves as Director of the Stress Responsivity, Emotion, and Mood (StREaM) Laboratory which transdiagnostically studies ways that psychobiological stress responsivity is implicated in emerging and protracted affective symptomatology.

Kirsty Donald: University of Cape Town, South Africa
Dr. Kirsty Donald leads the Division of Developmental Paediatrics at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, and is also the Deputy Director of the Neuroscience Institute, University of Cape Town. Her interests include understanding developmental conditions as they present in resource-limited settings such as South Africa, identification, assessment and care for children with these conditions and underlying genetic and environmental contributors to child outcomes in this context.

About the Collection

BMC Medicine called for submissions to our Collection on Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) refer to a group of conditions that result from the alteration of typical brain developmental processes, leading to difficulties in cognitive, communicative, behavioral, and motor processes. These disturbances are usually associated with distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, or occupational areas of functioning. Given the complexity of NDDs, it is necessary to have cross-disciplinary collaboration among experts from various fields (i.e., pediatrics, psychology, neurology, reproductive medicine) and those with lived experience to address challenges associated with NDDs effectively and to support those who live with them.

This special article collection particularly encouraged global contributions aiming to improve the understanding, identification, and management of NDDs and pave the way towards comprehensive care and well-being in NDD patients. We also welcomed life-course studies that seek to delineate the complex pathophysiology of NDDs and investigate the social and environmental effects of influencing factors. Building on our current article collection on "Maternal factors during pregnancy influencing maternal, fetal and childhood outcomes," a particular focus is on exploring maternal factors in neurodevelopmental outcomes in offspring, including pre-existing conditions, environmental exposures, and genetic predisposition.

We are particularly interested in papers that fall under the following topics as they relate to NDDs:

Diagnosis and treatment

  • Treatment access, under- and misdiagnosis
  • Sex, socioeconomic, geographical and ethnic inequalities in disease identification, outcomes, and treatment
  • Educational and psychosocial interventions for a life-course approach
  • Disease complexity, heterogeneity and subtype stratification
  • RCTs and related new methodologies, personalized prediction modeling and measurement tools
  • Diagnosis in underrepresented groups, including those with learning disabilities, aging, sex differences, and minority ethnic groups
  • Underrepresented topics, such as regression

Pathophysiology and influencing factors

  • Risk/ resilience factors and comorbidities
  • Environmental exposures and managing determinant complexity
  • Effects of maternal factors on NDD outcomes (for example, diet/physical activity, environmental exposures, perinatal medication, preterm birth, mental health, genetics)
  • Impact of medications, immunity and inflammation on NDDs

Disease management and wellbeing

  • Influence of societal norms and stigmatization 
  • Peer-to-peer and family network recognition and support of patients
  • The importance of lived experiences and community influenced patient-reported outcomes 
  • Embracing neurodiversity, complexity and holistic lifestyles

Research conducted in the Global South, patient perspectives, longitudinal cohorts, and studies incorporating patient and public involvement (PPI) are particularly of interest. BMC Medicine is keen to ensure an inclusive article collection, so the authors mentioned above are encouraged to apply to become commissioned contributors. Moreover, submissions with clear evidence of public involvement to ensure outcomes and interventions important for NDDs community should be noted in the cover letter, as these contributions will be championed.

We also welcomed outstanding mechanistic laboratory studies that provide superb translational insights into the future of neurodevelopment and altered developmental processes. 

Image credit: Eoneren / Getty images / iStock

  1. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a promising therapy for refractory Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS). However, its long-term efficacy, safety, and recommended surgical age remain controversial, requiring ev...

    Authors: Yuan Gao, Shu Wang, Anni Wang, Shiying Fan, Yan Ge, Huimin Wang, Dongmei Gao, Jian Wang, Zhiqi Mao, Hulin Zhao, Hua Zhang, Lin Shi, Huanguang Liu, Guanyu Zhu, Anchao Yang, Yutong Bai…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:218
  2. Early pregnancy is a critical window for neural system programming; however, the association of first-trimester fetal size with children’s neurodevelopment remains to be assessed. This study aimed to explore t...

    Authors: Xinmei Chen, Hongxiu Liu, Yuanyuan Li, Wenxin Zhang, Aifen Zhou, Wei Xia and Shunqing Xu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:181
  3. Despite the importance of medication adherence in treatment effectiveness, little is known about the association between medication non-adherence and self-inflicted violence behaviors. We aimed to assess wheth...

    Authors: Chuanlong Zuo, Xianmei Yang, Xiangrui Wu, Ruoxin Fan, Jun Liu, Hu Xiang, Yang Li, Xing Zhao, Xiang Liu and Yuanyuan Liu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:136
  4. There is a growing population of children with in utero HIV exposure who are at risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes despite avoiding HIV infection. However, the underlying neurobiological pathways are not...

    Authors: Catherine J. Wedderburn, Shunmay Yeung, Sivenesi Subramoney, Jean-Paul Fouche, Shantanu H. Joshi, Katherine L. Narr, Andrea M. Rehman, Annerine Roos, Diana M. Gibb, Heather J. Zar, Dan J. Stein and Kirsten A. Donald
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:129
  5. Socio-emotional impairments are among the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but the actual knowledge has substantiated both altered and intact emotional prosodies recognition. Here, a Bay...

    Authors: Mathilde Marie Duville, Luz María Alonso-Valerdi and David I. Ibarra-Zarate
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:121
  6. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are neurodevelopmental disorders with overlapping behavioral features and genetic etiology. While brain cortical thickness (CT...

    Authors: Wanfang You, Qian Li, Lizhou Chen, Ning He, Yuanyuan Li, Fenghua Long, Yaxuan Wang, Yufei Chen, Robert K. McNamara, John A. Sweeney, Melissa P. DelBello, Qiyong Gong and Fei Li
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:92
  7. Interpregnancy interval (IPI) is associated with a variety of adverse maternal and infant outcomes. However, reports of its associations with early infant neurodevelopment are limited and the mechanisms of thi...

    Authors: Ruirui Ma, Peng Wang, Qiaolan Yang, Yuanyuan Zhu, Lei Zhang, Yuhong Wang, Lijun Sun, Wenxiang Li, Jinfang Ge and Peng Zhu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2024 22:2
  8. Exposure to general anesthesia influences neuronal functions during brain development. Recently, interneurons were found to be involved in developmental neurotoxicity by anesthetic exposure. But the underlying...

    Authors: Xinyue Liang, Ming Jiang, Hao Xu, Tianxiang Tang, Xiangpeng Shi, Yi Dong, Lei Xiao, Yunli Xie, Fang Fang and Jing Cang
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:510
  9. Major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BPD) are complex genetic mental illnesses. Their non-Mendelian features, such as those observed in monozygotic twins discordant for...

    Authors: Junping Ye, Zhanwang Huang, Qiyang Li, Zhongwei Li, Yuting Lan, Zhongju Wang, Chaoying Ni, Xiaohui Wu, Tingyun Jiang, Yujing Li, Qiong Yang, Junghwa Lim, Cun-Yan Ren, Meijun Jiang, Shufen Li, Peng Jin…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:491
  10. This study aimed to investigate the neuroanatomical subtypes among early-onset schizophrenia (EOS) patients by exploring the association between structural alterations and molecular mechanisms using a combined...

    Authors: Guanqun Yao, Ting Zou, Jing Luo, Shuang Hu, Langxiong Yang, Jing Li, Xinrong Li, Yuqi Zhang, Kun Feng, Yong Xu and Pozi Liu
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:479
  11. Emerging research suggests that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increases the risk for cardiovascular (CVDs) and metabolic disorders (i.e., cardiometabolic disorders) in adulthood. Yet, availab...

    Authors: Maja Dobrosavljevic, Ralf Kuja-Halkola, Lin Li, Zheng Chang, Henrik Larsson and Ebba Du Rietz
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:452
  12. Leveraging a large nationwide study of Icelandic women, we aimed to narrow the evidence gap around female attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cardiometabolic comorbidities by determining the pr...

    Authors: Unnur Jakobsdottir Smari, Unnur Anna Valdimarsdottir, Thor Aspelund, Arna Hauksdottir, Edda Bjork Thordardottir, Catharina A. Hartman, Pontus Andell, Henrik Larsson and Helga Zoega
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:450
  13. The immunologic milieu at the maternal–fetal interface has profound effects on propelling the development of the fetal brain. However, accessible epidemiological studies concerning the association between plac...

    Authors: Jixing Zhou, Juan Tong, Xue Ru, Yuzhu Teng, Menglong Geng, Shuangqin Yan, Fangbiao Tao and Kun Huang
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:449
  14. Maternal pre-gestational diabetes (PGDM), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and overweight/obesity have been associated with increased risks of offspring neurodevelopmental conditions (NDCs) including autis...

    Authors: Shuyun Chen, Xi Wang, Brian K. Lee and Renee M. Gardner
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:422
  15. Moderate and late preterm (MLPT) birth accounts for the vast majority of preterm births, which is a global public health problem. The association between MLPT and neurobehavioral developmental delays in childr...

    Authors: Yumin Zhu, Yimin Zhang, Yunfan Jin, Heyue Jin, Kun Huang, Juan Tong, Hong Gan, Chen Rui, Jia Lv, Xianyan Wang, Qu’nan Wang and Fangbiao Tao
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:326
  16. Children and young people’s (CYP) mental health is worsening, and an increasing number are seeking psychiatric and mental health care. Whilst many CYPs with low-to-medium levels of psychiatric distress can be ...

    Authors: Eleanor Keiller, Saba Masood, Ben Hoi-ching Wong, Cerian Avent, Kofi Bediako, Rebecca Margaret Bird, Isabel Boege, Marta Casanovas, Veronika Beatrice Dobler, Maya James, Jane Kiernan, Maria Martinez-Herves, Thinh Vinh Thanh Ngo, Ana Pascual-Sanchez, Izabela Pilecka, Paul L Plener…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:303
  17. Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a rare and complex genetic disorder, associated with tumor growth in various organ systems, epilepsy, and a range of neuropsychiatric manifestations including intellectual d...

    Authors: Annelieke R. Müller, Michiel A. J. Luijten, Lotte Haverman, Wendela L. de Ranitz-Greven, Peter Janssens, André B. Rietman, Leontine W. ten Hoopen, Laura C. G. de Graaff, Marie-Claire de Wit, Anna C. Jansen, Tanjala Gipson, Jamie K. Capal, Petrus J. de Vries and Agnies M. van Eeghen
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:298

    The Correction to this article has been published in BMC Medicine 2023 21:401

  18. Comorbidity is the rule rather than the exception for childhood and adolescent onset mental disorders, but we cannot predict its occurrence and do not know the neural mechanisms underlying comorbidity. We inve...

    Authors: Nanyu Kuang, Zhaowen Liu, Gechang Yu, Xinran Wu, Benjamin Becker, Huaxin Fan, Songjun Peng, Kai Zhang, Jiajia Zhao, Jujiao Kang, Guiying Dong, Xingming Zhao, Barbara J. Sahakian, Trevor W. Robbins, Wei Cheng, Jianfeng Feng…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:291
  19. Microglia are known to regulate stress and anxiety in both humans and animal models. Psychosocial stress is the most common risk factor for the development of schizophrenia. However, how microglia/brain macrop...

    Authors: Ling Yan, Yanli Li, Fengmei Fan, Mengzhuang Gou, Fangling Xuan, Wei Feng, Keerthana Chithanathan, Wei Li, Junchao Huang, Hongna Li, Wenjin Chen, Baopeng Tian, Zhiren Wang, Shuping Tan, Alexander Zharkovsky, L. Elliot Hong…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:286
  20. It remains a challenge to predict the long-term response to antipsychotics in patients with schizophrenia who do not respond at an early stage. This study aimed to investigate the optimal predictive cut-off va...

    Authors: Yujun Long, Qiongqiong Wu, Ye Yang, Jingda Cai, Jingmei Xiao, Zhaoqian Liu, Yifeng Xu, Ying Chen, Manli Huang, Ruiguo Zhang, Xijia Xu, Jian Hu, Zhifen Liu, Fang Liu, Yingjun Zheng, Huaqing Meng…
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:263
  21. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BD) are believed to share clinical symptoms, genetic risk, etiological factors, and pathogenic mechanisms. We previously reported that single nucleotide polymorphisms spanni...

    Authors: Zhi-Hui Yang, Xin Cai, Zhong-Li Ding, Wei Li, Chu-Yi Zhang, Jin-Hua Huo, Yue Zhang, Lu Wang, Lin-Ming Zhang, Shi-Wu Li, Ming Li, Chen Zhang, Hong Chang and Xiao Xiao
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:254
  22. Inflammation has been implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia and may cause neuronal cell death and dendrite loss. Neuroimaging studies have highlighted longitudinal brain structural changes in patients w...

    Authors: Long-Biao Cui, Xian-Yang Wang, Yu-Fei Fu, Xiao-Fan Liu, Yongbin Wei, Shu-Wan Zhao, Yue-Wen Gu, Jing-Wen Fan, Wen-Jun Wu, Hengfen Gong, Bochao Danae Lin, Hong Yin, Fanglin Guan and Xiao Chang
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:250
  23. Schizophrenia is characterized by complex psychiatric symptoms and unclear pathological mechanisms. Most previous studies have focused on the morphological changes that occur over the development of the diseas...

    Authors: Sisi Jiang, Huan Huang, Jingyu Zhou, Hechun Li, Mingjun Duan, Dezhong Yao and Cheng Luo
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:237
  24. Germline mosaicisms could be inherited to offspring, which considered as de novo in most cases. Paternal germline MECP2 mosaicism has been reported in fathers of girls with Rett syndrome (RTT) previously. For f...

    Authors: Yongxin Wen, Jiaping Wang, Qingping Zhang, Xiaoxu Yang, Liping Wei and Xinhua Bao
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:155
  25. Although both peer victimization and bullying perpetration negatively impact preadolescents’ development, the underlying neurobiological mechanism of this adverse relationship remains unclear. Besides, the spe...

    Authors: Xue Wen, Yinuo Shu, Diyang Qu, Yinzhe Wang, Zaixu Cui, Xiaoqian Zhang and Runsen Chen
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:141
  26. Individuals with mental health problems have been shown to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disorder (CVD), but little is known about the risk of early-onset CVD among those with intellectual disabilit...

    Authors: Hui Wang, Priscilla Ming Yi Lee, Jun Zhang, Katrine Svendsen, Fei Li and Jiong Li
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2023 21:41
  27. Schizophrenia (SCZ) is a chronic and severe mental illness with no cure so far. Mendelian randomization (MR) is a genetic method widely used to explore etiologies of complex traits. In the current study, we ai...

    Authors: Xiaojing Gu, Meng Dou, Weiming Su, Zheng Jiang, Qingqing Duan, Bei Cao and Yongping Chen
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:474

Submission Guidelines

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BMC Medicine encourages submissions of front matter articles and original research, including clinical trials (phase I - III, randomized-controlled, either positive or negative trials), epidemiological studies (retrospective or prospective), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, -omics, medical imaging, genomics studies and biomarkers research.

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have read our submission guidelines. Articles for this Collection should be submitted via our submission system, Editorial Manager. During the submission process you will be asked whether you are submitting to a Collection, please select "Neurodevelopmental Disorders" from the dropdown menu. You should also indicate that you are targeting this Collection in your cover letter. Alternatively, you can email a pre-submission query to the editorial team at

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

The Guest Editors have no competing interests with the submissions which they handle through the peer review process. The peer review of any submissions for which the Guest Editors have competing interests is handled by another Editorial Board Member who has no competing interests. 

Guest Editors provide guidance on the scope of this collection, advice on commissioned content, and editorial recommendations. However, they are not involved in the final editorial decision-making on papers submitted to this collection. All final editorial decisions are with the Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Lin Lee.