Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Jill Naaijen (Donders sereis 279)

14 september 2017

Promotors: prof. dr. J. Buitelaar, prof. dr. B. Franke

Copromotors: dr. D. Lythgoe (King's college London), dr. J. Glennon

Compulsivity and glutamate in neurodevelopment

Although diagnostic criteria of neurodevelopmental disorders share little to no overlap, several disorders occur together in the same patient or family. Compulsivity and impulsivity are traits that seem to be present to a certain extend in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette’s disorder, showing a cross-disorder similarity. Why are these neurodevelopmental disorders often comorbid? What is the overlap between them and what are the differences?

Jill Naaijen examined the underlying neural and genetic mechanisms of compulsivity and impulsivity in ADHD, ASD, OCD and TD, with a specific focus on the fronto-striatal systems and the role of the glutamate neurotransmitter system. Compulsive and impulsive behaviour were explored not only in terms of categorical psychiatric classifications but also in a more dimensional cross-disorder manner. In this thesis, Jill Naaijen tried to tap into the heterogeneity of compulsivity- and impulsivity related disorders, underscoring the importance of investigating multiple groups together to increase insight into shared mechanisms, which will optimally lead to individualized (biological) psychiatry.