3-D mapping babies’ brains

Research from a collaborative team at Washington University in St. Louis tested a 3-D method that could lead to new diagnostic tools that will precisely measure the third-trimester growth and folding patterns of a baby’s brain. Their findings might help to sound an early alarm on developmental disorders in preemies that could affect them later in life.

Defects in brain cell migration linked to mental retardation

A rare, inherited form of mental retardation has led scientists at the School of Medicine to three important “travel agents” at work in the developing brain. The agents make it possible for brain neurons to travel from where they are born to other brain regions where they will permanently reside.

Brain differences seen at 6 months in infants who develop autism

Researchers have found significant differences in brain development in infants as young as six months old who later develop autism, compared to babies who don’t develop the disorder. The new research, which relied on brain scans acquired at night while infants were naturally sleeping, suggests that autism doesn’t appear abruptly, but instead develops over time during infancy.

Prenatal smoking increases ADHD risk in some children

Smoking while pregnant combined with genetic factors greatly increases the risk of severe ADHD.Past research has suggested that both genes and prenatal insults — such as exposure to alcohol and nicotine — can increase the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the identified increases in risk have been very modest. Now, a team of Washington University scientists has found that when those factors are studied together, risk of a severe type of ADHD greatly increases.

Prenatal smoking increases ADHD risk in some children

Smoking while pregnant combined with genetic factors greatly increases the risk of severe ADHD.Past research has suggested that both genes and prenatal insults — such as exposure to alcohol and nicotine — can increase the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the identified increases in risk have been very modest. Now, a team of Washington University scientists has found that when those factors are studied together, risk of a severe type of ADHD greatly increases.

Adult and child brains perform tasks differently

As our brains mature, the red regions are used more frequently, and the blue areas are used less.Children activate different and more regions of their brains than adults when they perform word tasks, according to investigators at the School of Medicine. Reporting in the journal Cerebral Cortex, the researchers say those changes in regional brain activity from childhood to adulthood may reflect the more efficient use of our brains as we mature.

Adult and child brains perform tasks differently

As our brains mature, we tend to use the red regions more frequently for these certain tasks, using the regions represented in blue less.Children activate different and more regions of their brains than adults when they perform word tasks, according to investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Reporting in the journal Cerebral Cortex, the researchers say those changes in regional brain activity from childhood to adulthood may reflect the more efficient use of our brains as we mature.