Behavioral and psychiatric manifestations in Cornelia de Lange syndrome

Marco A. Grados, Mustafa H. Alvi, Siddharth Srivastava

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of review Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a rare genetic syndrome with clinical manifestations due to multiple affected organ systems including limbs, gastrointestinal, skin, and central nervous systems. Although the genetic basis of CdLS is now uncovered, how behavioral manifestations are associated with genetic and brain differences are less well understood. The current focused review systematically describes the main behavioral observations to date in individuals with CdLS, which have a significant impact on quality of life and adaptive functioning. Recent findings The CdLS behavioral phenotype includes autistic traits as a prominent feature; however, brain imaging studies, required to understand gene-brain-behavior connections in CdLS, are scarce. Moreover, autistic features in CdLS have a greater emphasis on repetitive behaviors, including self-injurious behaviors (SIB) and expressive communication deficits, different that the core social deficit seen in idiopathic autism. Current data strongly support the use of CdLS as a model disease for repetitive behaviors and associated developmental delay manifestations. Summary Behavioral phenotype characteristics in CdLS point to a preponderance of repetitive clinical phenomena as well as expressive verbal deficits that ought to inform specific treatment approaches in CdLS. In particular, repetitive behaviors associated with self-injury are of high negative impact on the quality of life for individuals with CdLS and their families. Treatment approaches geared to manage repetitive behaviors and self-injurious behaviors in CdLS are required in this developmental condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-96
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Anxiety
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Self-injury
  • Sleep problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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