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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Does Your Baby's Brain Grow After Birth?

It seems parents of a newborn baby are obsessed with their physical and neurological development (I know I was). Here is an article that stresses the importance of the first few months after birth for your baby's brain development:

Baby brain growth studied

"CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say areas of the brain controlling vision and other sensory information grow dramatically during the first few months following birth.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, the scientists found, conversely, the area that controls abstract thought experiences very little growth during the same period.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers say they also found the type of brain tissue called gray matter, which contains most of the neurons, grew much more robustly than another type of tissue called white matter, which contains the connecting fibers between neurons in different brain regions.

Gray matter size grew by roughly 40 percent during the first months after birth, while white matter grew very little.

"This pattern of brain growth in newborns has not been described before," said Dr. John Gilmore, a professor of psychiatry and lead author of the study. "An enormous amount of brain development takes place between birth and late childhood that we know very little about. This study gives us the first glimpse into understanding that."

The research is detailed in the Feb. 7 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience."

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