Michele Zappella

Michele Zappella
Michele Zappella
Born March 4, 1936 (1936-03-04) (age 75)
Viareggio, Italy
Nationality Italian

Michele Zappella (born March 4, 1936) is an Italian psychiatrist and scholar of Child Neuropsychiatry. He is a native of Viareggio, Italy.


Professional background

Zappella graduated in 1960 in Medicine and Surgery in Rome, Italy. He initially relocated to London, where he worked with the Fountain Hospital of London from 1961 to 1963. He then moved back to Rome, where he worked in the medical field and specialized in Pediatrics. As winner of a Fulbright grant for the United States, he became a Fellow of Neurology in the Department of Child Neurology at Children's Hospital in Washington D.C., serving there from 1964 to 1965. In 1966, he moved to Pisa, Italy, where he specialized first in Child Neuropsychiatry and then, in 1968, in Nervous and Mental Diseases. In 1970 he became Lecturer in Mental Health.

He was head of the Department of Child Neuropsychiatry of Siena Hospital from 1973 to 2006. As of 2011, he is teaching Child Neuropsychiatry in the Schools of Specialization of the University of Siena and serves as a consultant in the Rett Center of Versilia Hospital in Italy.

Zappella is an honorary member of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes in London and of the Italian Society of Pedagogy. He was the President of the Italian Society of Tourette's Syndrome from 1999 to 2003, and Vice President of the Italian Society of Child Neuropsychiatry from 1976 to 1978.

He has been involved in social integration and education of disabled children. From 1969 through 1970, he was focused on publishing the first papers on this subject.

In the 1960s, Zappella studied the Placing Reflex [1][2] and its connections with the early diagnosis of severe mental retardation. His studies on Rett Syndrome have shown that there is a milder variant of this syndrome in which children acquire late some manual skills and spoken language. This variant is known as the Zappella Variant of Rett Syndrome [3][4][5][6][7][8] (OMIM[9]) in the scientific community.[10][11][12]

Zappella has extensively studied Autistic Disorders, discovering the Dysmaturational Syndrome,[13] which manifests as a transitional autistic behavior, associated with motor and vocal tics, which has a genetic cause Tourette-like, quite different from stable Autistic Disorders. He introduced a form of rehabilitative therapy, known as Emotional Activation through Body Reciprocity (AERC).

In 1981, in recognition of his studies on Autism, Zappella received the Gold Medal and the Honorary Citizenship of the town of Sesto San Giovanni, Italy.

Published works

Zappella is the author of over 300 scientific publications, 101 indexed on PubMed - U.S. National Library of Medicine of National Institutes of Health. In 1980, he won the Glaxo Award for Science diffusion (Verona - Italy). He is currently Scientific Director of the magazine Autismo e Disturbi dello Sviluppo.[14]

  • Zappella, Michele. Le encefalopatie congenite del neonato e del lattante, Infanzia Anormale, 11, 1967.
  • Zappella, Michele. Il Pesce Bambino, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1976. ISBN 978-88-077-9101-7; translated in French, l'Enfant Poisson, Paris: Payot, 1979. ISBN 2-228-33510-X.
  • Zappella, Michele. Il Bambino nella Luna, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1979. ISBN 978-88-078-1108-1.
  • Zappella, Michele. Non vedo, non sento, non parlo, Milano: Mondadori, 1984; translated in Spanish, No veo, no oigo, no ablo, Paidos Terapia Familial, 1992. ISBN 84-7509-829-0.
  • Zappella, Michele. I bambini autistici, l’holding e la famiglia, Roma: Nuova Italia Scientifica, 1987. ISBN 978-88-430-0996-1.
  • A.A.V.V. Metodo Portage, ed. italiana a cura di Michele Zappella, Torino: Omega, 1989. ISBN 978-88-724-1087-5.
  • Zappella, Michele. Autismo Infantile, Roma: Carocci, 1996. ISBN 978-88-430-3518-5; translated in Spanish, Autismo Infantìl, Instituto de Cultura Economica: Mexico, 1998. ISBN 84-750-9829-0.
  • Zappella, Michele; with Dario Ianes. Facciamo il punto su l'autismo, Trento: Erickson, 2009. ISBN 978-88-613-7399-0.


  1. ^ Zappella, M; Foley, J; Cookson, M (1964). "The Placing and supporting reactions in children with mental retardation". Journal of mental deficiency research 8: 1–16. PMID 14171291. 
  2. ^ Zappella, M (1967). "Placing and grasping of the feet at various temperatures in early infancy". Pediatrics 39 (1): 93–6. PMID 6016234. 
  3. ^ Zappella, M (1992). "The Rett girls with preserved speech". Brain & development 14 (2): 98–101. PMID 1621933. 
  4. ^ Skjeldal, OH; Von Tetzchner, S; Jacobsen, K; Smith, L; Heiberg, A (1995). "Rett syndrome--distribution of phenotypes with special attention to the preserved speech variant.". Neuropediatrics 26 (2): 87. doi:10.1055/s-2007-979732. PMID 7566462. 
  5. ^ Sørensen, E; Viken, B (1995). "Rett syndrome a developmental disorder. Presentation of a variant with preserved speech". Tidsskrift for den Norske lægeforening : tidsskrift for praktisk medicin, ny række 115 (5): 588–90. PMID 7900110. 
  6. ^ Zappella, M; Gillberg, C; Ehlers, S (1998). "The preserved speech variant: a subgroup of the Rett complex: a clinical report of 30 cases". Journal of autism and developmental disorders 28 (6): 519–26. doi:10.1023/A:1026052128305. PMID 9932238. 
  7. ^ Yamashita, Y; Kondo, I; Fukuda, T; Morishima, R; Kusaga, A; Matsuishi, R; Matsuishi, T (2001). "Mutation analysis of the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 gene (MECP2) in Rett patients with preserved speech". Brain & development 23 (1): 157–160. doi:10.1016/S0387-7604(01)00378-3. PMID 11738864. 
  8. ^ Umansky, R; Watson, JS; Hoffbuhr, K; Painter, KM; Devaney, J; Hoffman, E (2001). "Social facilitation of object-oriented hand use in a Rett syndrome variant girl: implications for partial preservation of an hypothesized specialized cerebral network". Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics : JDBP 22 (2): 119–22. doi:10.1097/00004703-200104000-00006. PMID 11332781. 
  9. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/omim/312750
  10. ^ Renieri, A; Mari, F; Mencarelli, MA; Scala, E; Ariani, F; Longo, I; Meloni, I; Cevenini, G et al. (2009). "Diagnostic criteria for the Zappella variant of Rett syndrome (the preserved speech variant)". Brain & development 31 (3): 208–16. doi:10.1016/j.braindev.2008.04.007. PMID 18562141. 
  11. ^ Marschik, Peter B.; Einspieler, Christa; Oberle, Andreas; Laccone, Franco; Prechtl, Heinz F. R. (2009). "Case Report: Retracing Atypical Development: A Preserved Speech Variant of Rett Syndrome". Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 39 (6): 958–61. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0703-x. PMC 3085750. PMID 19224352. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=3085750. 
  12. ^ Renieri, A; Hayek, G; Zappella, M; Zannolli, R; De Felice, C; De Nicola, A; Guerri, V; Buoni, S et al. (2010). "EEG features and epilepsy in MECP2-mutated patients with the Zappella variant of Rett syndrome". Clinical neurophysiology: official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 121 (5): 652–657. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2010.01.003. PMID 20153689. 
  13. ^ Zappella, M (2010). "Autistic regression with and without EEG abnormalities followed by favourable outcome". Brain & development 32 (9): 739–45. doi:10.1016/j.braindev.2010.05.004. PMID 20708360. 
  14. ^ http://www.erickson.it/erickson/product.do?id=724&categoryId=117
  15. ^ http://www.oup.com.au/titles/academic/medicine/9780195182224

Biographical notes sources

  • Anagrafe - Università di Roma La Sapienza - Roma, Italy
  • Albo Ufficiale di Ateneo - Università di Pisa - Pisa, Italy
  • Anagrafe della Ricerca - Università degli Studi di Siena - Siena, Italy
  • Sede A.I.S.T. - Associazione Italiana Sindrome di Tourette – Milano, Italy
  • Direttivo SINPIA - Società Italiana di Neuropsichiatria Infantile - Milano, Italy
  • Comune di Sesto San Giovanni - Sesto San Giovanni, (MI) Italy

External links

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