Rovira i Virgili University, Spain
Epidemiology of neurodevelopmental disorders in Spain

Dr. Canals is Full Professor (Department of Psychology, Rovira i Virgili University) with the profile of psychopathology of children and adolescents. Her research interests are focus on epidemiology of psychopathological disorders in child and adolescent stages. She develops longitudinal studies on nutrition and cognitive and behavioral development: effects of prenatals and postnatal nutritional on development. Dr. Canals has a Research Gate: factor of 34.06 (Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology). She has published over 100 articles and has been the supervisor of 12 doctoral dissertations.

We present data on epidemiology of Attention Deficit and Hiperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in preschools and in school-aged children from two studies performed in schools of Catalonia. In clinical setting, the ADHD is one the most prevalent disorders in children and adolescents, and the ASD have dramatically increased in the last decade. There are few studies in Spain on epidemiology of these disorders, but both may affect 7-8% of the child population and lead to difficulties in poor academic achievement and problems adjusting to family, school and social environments. The comorbidities with other disorders are frequent. For the ADHD, apart from the genetic factors, several risk factors such as smoke or drink during the pregnancy, age of gestation, birth weight and other environmental variables has been related. The studies on etiopathogenic factors in the ASD are more recent and they have increased in the literature. In this sense, the exposure to environmental substances such as some metals, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds during pregnancy have showed an impairment of brain development and they have been related as risk factors of the ADHD and ASD. Also in this symposium, Spanish data on studies of the genetic influence in the ASD will be referred. Results suggest that there is a complex genetic x environmental interaction, with several hundreds of genetic variants contributing to the etiology of ASD.