The CANDY Project

Research project investigating the underlying mechanisms of co-existing neurodevelopmental conditions and epilepsy has kicked-off

For the first time,

experts from the fields of autism, ADHD and epilepsy are joining forces in the European funded project CANDY

CANDY's innovation

is to test, for the first time, if autism, ADHD and ID are caused by a combination of genetic factors and immune activation during ‘sensitive periods’

The CANDY Project

In Europe, 10-15% of children and adults or 50 to 75 million individuals are affected by neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disability (ID), motor problems and language disorders. It is not hard to imagine that one of these conditions alone can have a serious impact on a person’s life. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that several of these conditions often co-exist and, on top of that, go along with somatic illnesses, such as epilepsy. This significantly affects both life expectancy and quality of life and there are no effective treatments to date.

In the CANDY project, we investigate the biological links between these neurodevelopmental conditions and co-existing somatic illnesses and how treatment and monitoring of affected patients can be improved.


of the EU population are affected by Neurodevelopmental Conditions such as autism, ADHD or ID


People on the autism spectrum experience persistent difficulties with social interaction and communication, display restricted and repetitive behaviour and/or have special circumscribed interests and activities. They often also experience sensory difficulties, such as increased or reduced sensitivity to light, sound, colour, smell, taste or touch.
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ADHD belongs also to the group of neurodevelopmental conditions with onset usually occurring in childhood and adolescence. It manifests itself by problems with attention span and self-regulation and/or by impulsivity and high physical restlessness (hyperactivity). A clinical diagnosis is made when persistent symptoms are associated with impairments of functioning at home, school, workplace or during leasure time. However, symptoms alone are not sufficient for a diagnosis.

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Intellectual disability (ID) is characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. This disability originates before the age of 18.

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Elizabeth Jones

“Since we are able to map the entire human genome today, we have made tremendous progress in understanding the genetic basis of many diseases. However, there is almost never a one-to-one link between a single gene and a single illness.”

Prof. Jan Buitelaar, Coordinator

Elizabeth Jones

“By looking at the underlying mechanisms, it is our aim to understand better the cause of co-existing neurodevelopmental conditions and epilepsy and to ultimately find new strategies for prevention and treatment for affected people.”

Dr. Eva Loth, Lead of CANDY-PIP
King’s College London


European countries

Project duration (months)

Our Research

Read more about the “problem” and the opportunity in CANDY, and more detailed information about biomarkers, the microbiome, neuroinflammation and critical periods. 

FAQs »

Facts & Figures »

The Team »


In CANDY we are collaborating with the AIMS-2-TRIALS project and their study “Pre-School Brain Imaging and Behaviour Project (PIP)”. PIP is the first study to track how pre-school children with and without autism develop over time and across Europe.

Multiplex Study

This is the first study to track the heritability of rare genetic risk variants for several neurodevelopmental conditions. Neurodevelopmental conditions likely result from a combination of both rare genetic variants and many common low-risk variants.

News & Events

CANDY 3rd General Assembly

CANDY 3rd General Assembly

After two years of restriction and no face-to-face meetings, we put all our hopes in the 3rd CANDY General Assembly Meeting ito finally meet in Nijmegen. The Hotel was chosen, the meeting room booked, however beginning of February we had to take the decision to -...

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Lucas Noldus becomes professor at Radboud University

Lucas Noldus becomes professor at Radboud University

Lucas Noldus becomes professor of Behavior, Information Technology and Innovation at Radboud University. Beginning of November, Lucas Noldus gave his inaugural speech as professor at Radboud University. In front of colleagues, friends and family he gave a presentation...

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