Neuro-archaeology: pre-symptomatic architecture and signature of neurological disorders

Trends Neurosci. 2008 Dec;31(12):626-36. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.09.002. Epub 2008 Oct 24.


During brain development cells divide, differentiate and migrate to their assigned targets to form synapses and active cell assemblies. This sequence is controlled both by genetic programs and environmental factors. Alterations of this sequence by mutations or environmental insults leads to the formation of misconnected circuits endowed with a 'pre-symptomatic signature'. I propose here that early- and late-onset neurological disorders as diverse as infantile epilepsies, mental retardation, dyslexia or, in certain conditions, even Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease might be, in part, born at early developmental stages before symptoms appear. The core of this working hypothesis is that imaging or non-invasive recordings might unravel signatures of disorders to come, thereby permitting earlier diagnosis and potential treatment of neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Nervous System Diseases* / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases* / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases* / pathology