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As research in neuroscience advances, our understanding of the brain and healthy brain development continues to change. The following are some recent reports and news releases highlighting cutting-edge research related to the brain and child development. Examples of recent brain research are also highlighted on the BBB home page.
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New research shows the amygdala is also active in response to pleasant experiences.
Want to know more about how the brain changes during the early years? Zero to Three has answers to some of their most frequently asked questions about early brain development.
A new study shows that connections between the brain’s left and right hemispheres strengthen during sleep.
The function of the brain may actually be influenced by individuals' cultural environments.
New research shows that dendrite activity has a role in storing long-term memories.
A review of the research on the effectiveness of cognitive training that promises to delay or reduce mental decline.
In a new working paper, the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains how early experiences can actually change the way genes express themselves, with long-term implcations.
New research confirms that early experiences have the power to change brain circuits.
A new study of twins shows that differences in the development of aggression in toddlers are partly due to genetic differences.
The hippocampus has amore complex role in memory than researchers originally believed.
Researchers have found that being actively involved in a form of art can strengthen the attention networks in children's brains and improve overall cognition.
New research from Norway shows how the brain maps the environment to make navigation in space possible.
This TED talk explains how sugar affects the brain, and why sugar tends to be so addictive for many people.
For many of us, numbers consume our daily lives: phone numbers, personal identification numbers, access codes, dates, etc. Scientists think our ability to remember numbers may relate to an innate “number sense,” as well as simple memorization.
The ongoing research debate on how brain connections are organized.
Just listening to Mozart music does not improve spatial reasoning or other cognitive abilities.
Learn more about the fundamental principles of the brain and nervous system, thanks to the Society for Neuroscience.
Researcher Tomáš Paus at the University of Nottingham has discovered that children who are better able to resist peer pressure also have stronger connections in the frontal lobes of the brain.
The brain's glia support and protect neurons, but also play a role in regulating learning and memory.
The National Institutes of Health have released new data from a multisite research study, including snapshots of young children's brain chemistry at key times in development. Information and publications from the study are available at the NIH Pediatric MRI Data Repository website.
A new report by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis shows that people with more neurotic personalities tend to show faster brain aging.
Activities that require balance, such as climbing trees and balancing on a beam, can improve working memory.
The Center on the Developing Child has created a resource with practical tips and activities to help children and teens with working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility -- the three major abilities that contribute to executive function.
A new interactive feature from Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child explains key concepts in brain development.
Neuroscientists are recognizing that men’s and women’s brains have different patterns of neural activity in some areas.
Children's brains have the same basic architecture as adults', but portions that process complex information and decision-making become stronger with development.
This Dana Foundation news article highlights research on the phenomenon of "childhood amnesia", including developing evidence that even young infants show evidence of memory under certain conditions.
Check out this interactive view of the baby's brain, with answers to common questions about early development.
A new brain-imaging study at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests that taking stimulants for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder may not have negative effects on the development of the cortex.
A new research study, reported in CNN, shows that the amygdala is an average of 13% larger than normal in children with autism.
A recent study provides more evidence that autism may have a genetic basis.
New research shows a higher risk of autism in siblings of a child with autism.
A new study finds that children with sensory processing disorder (who struggle with processing stimulation) have clear differences in brain structure from typically-developing children.
A news report by the Dana Foundation explains how identifying dyslexia even before children are old enough to read can help families and professionals intervene early.
Children of depressed mothers tend to have an enlarged amygdala.
The Dana Foundation's 2008 Progress Report on Brain Research includes a report highlighting scientific discoveries in 2007 that identified genetic bases of two common developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorder and AD/HD. The 2008 and 2009 Progress Reports are available from the Dana Foundation.
Symptoms of autism may be seen in babies as young as 12 months.
It's now possible to detect dyslexia in children too young to read.
This report by the National Scientific Council for the Developing Child, explores ways that toxic substances can disrupt the development of all of the body’s organ systems, including the brain.
A working paper from the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child summarizes recent research on maternal depression and child development.
Stress in expectant mothers can lead to changes in the fetus, at least in mice.
Babies born at very low birth weight are more likely to have memory and attention problems as adults.
Two faculty members at Brown University have received federal funding to study brain development in infants and children with bipolar disorder.
Prenatal exposure to pesticides may be linked to attention problems in childhood.
Researchers have discovered that adults whose childhood ADHD persisted into adulthood have more thinning of the cortex than adults who had ADHD as children but grew out of it.
The Dana Foundation reports that scientists are just beginning to get a handle on how to study, diagnose and treat childhood brain disorders.
A fMRI study by Sheryl Rimrodt and Laurie Cutting and their team at the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that children with reading difficulties do not have the flexibility in their reading comprehension that typically developing readers do.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that all infants be screened for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It's a necessary step in identifying and treating the disorder early — but there are questions about the potential for overdiagnosis with widespread screening.
The article cites a study which examines how serotonin levels affected anxiety-related behavior in mice when surprised. Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy, found that nearly three quarters of mice died before tuning four months old due to sudden drop in heart rate. They view that it occurs when serotonin activity cannot ramp up. The findings showed that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) can be prevented by regulating abnormal serotonin feedback. Reference: Wenner, M. (2008). Serotonin and SIDS. Scientific American Mind (19)5, 8.
Research shows that children's brains may be more vulnerable to head injuries that we realized.
New publication from the Child Wefare Information Gateway.
An intensive early intervention program for toddlers with autism boots children’s IQ, language, and social skills, according to a new report in Pediatrics.
Researchers in Oslo have used modeling to construct images of how newborn infants see people around them.
New insights on how parents and non-parents process language directed at infants.
New information about how the brain strings words together into sentences.
New research from San Diego State University finds that the brain processes spoken language and sign language in very similar ways.
Children whose mothers take folic acid supplements early in pregnancy and have a lower risk of severe language delays.
French researcher Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz is conducting ongoing research that suggests our brains may be wired for speech, long before we can even begin to speak or comprehend language. This news article highlights several recent studies about the brain and early language development.
ABC news reports on a new study Current Biology, suggesting that newborn infants' cries have the same melody as their native language.
Researchers have confirmed that reading to children before they enter kindergarten changes the way the brain processes stories, and may predict later reading success.
New brain wave studies show that sounding out words increases activity in parts of the brain wired for reading.
Our abilities to speak and to understand speech share parts of the brain.
Children whose mothers take folic acid supplements early in pregnancy and have a lower risk of severe language delays.
Breastfeeding longer is linked to increased adult intelligence and higher adult earnings, according to a new study following babies from birth through age 30.
According to this Dana Foundation news report, researchers are beginning to identify brain circuitry responsible for "eating" messages that may contribute to obesity in today's society.
This working paper, released by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, summarizes the most current research on early relationships and childn development. The research indicated that early relationships form the foundation for the development of brain circuits, as well as later developmental outcomes. The paper also identifies ways to improve policies that suppport strong, positive relationships in the early years.
This report from the Partnership for America's Economic Success explains why the nation’s economic health and well-being are enhanced when
parents know how to nurture children's developing brains. Read the research brief or the full report.
Getting involved in an art form that captures children's interest may help strengthen the wiring of the brain's attention systems.
This report, released by the Alliance for Childhood, documents negative consequences of "test-driven" instructional strategies that have completely replaced play in many kindergartens.
A Scientific American article summarizes research on the benefits of free play for children's cognitive, social, and emotional development.
A new report from the University of Montreal shows that toddlers who watch more television than average have more academic and social problems in middle childhood.
Check out this research report on stress and brain development from the Dana Foundation.
This news release from the Dana Foundation highlights research on connections between poverty and poor school performance. The research looks at the connections between poverty and early experiences, brain development, IQ scores, and school performance.
A recent study in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience has shown differences in prefrontal cortex development between children from low and higher socioeconomic levels.
Researchers are investigating the most effective ways to minimize toxic stress in children living below the poverty line, working through the federal Early Head Start program.
An article by Dorian Friedman highlights the importance of a nurturing, supportive environment to protect young children against the harmful effects of stress.
The link between low income, low parental education, and poor school achievement is well-documented. But what is it about poverty and low parent education that leads to children having more problems in school and later in life? The Harvard Institute's On the Brain explains recent research.
Zero to Three has used brain development research to create an advocacy tool to help polcy makers think more clearly about TANF reauthorization.
This blog post summarizes an economist's paper about how preschool changes the brain, and emphasizes the importance of investing in preschool education
Listen to a podcast by pediatrician Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He explains the impact of early experience on brain development and the implications for public policy.