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Prenatal neuroscience

Margaret M McCarthy, Kevin Herold, Sara L Stockman
Understanding critical periods in brain development and how they impact adult functioning is a primary goal of neuroscience. The sexual differentiation of the brain is a unique critical period in that it is initiated by endogenous production of a critical signaling molecule in only one sex, testosterone in fetal males. Females, by contrast, do not produce testosterone but are highly responsive to it and remain sensitive to its masculinizing effects well past the close of the critical period in males. Compared to other well characterized critical periods, such as those for the visual system or barrel cortex, the masculinization of the brain is telescoped into a few short days and initiated prenatally...
October 31, 2017: Physiology & Behavior
Ezequiel N Mercurio
In recent decades neuroscience research show the negative consequences of poverty in cognitive development. Environmental factors, such as material deprivation, exposure to stressful situations, violence, nutritional deprivation, environmental toxins may shape the developing brain. The changes of the structure and function of the brain since prenatal stages and their consequences can remain stable throughout the life cycle except early interventions are made. Research investigating have found significant link between child poverty and function and structural brain focusing on prefrontal cortex (i...
May 2016: Vertex: Revista Argentina de Psiquiatriá
Terry L Jernigan, Joan Stiles
The adult human brain is arguably the most complex of biological systems. It contains 86 billion neurons (the information processing cells of the brain) and many more support cells. The neurons, with the assistance of the support cells, form trillions of connections creating complex, interconnected neural networks that support all human thought, feeling, and action. A challenge for modern neuroscience is to provide a model that accounts for this exquisitely complex and dynamic system. One fundamental part of this model is an account of how the human brain develops...
January 2017: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. Cognitive Science
Rebecca C Knickmeyer, Kai Xia, Zhaohua Lu, Mihye Ahn, Shaili C Jha, Fei Zou, Hongtu Zhu, Martin Styner, John H Gilmore
Individual differences in neuroanatomy are associated with intellectual ability and psychiatric risk. Factors responsible for this variability remain poorly understood. We tested whether 17 major demographic and obstetric variables were associated with individual differences in brain volumes in 756 neonates assessed with MRI. Gestational age at MRI, sex, gestational age at birth, and birthweight were the most significant predictors, explaining 31% to 59% of variance. Unexpectedly, earlier born babies had larger brains than later born babies after adjusting for other predictors...
December 1, 2017: Cerebral Cortex
A Dubiel, R J Kulesza
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
June 2, 2016: Neuroscience
Stefano Montelli, Matteo Suman, Livio Corain, Bruno Cozzi, Antonella Peruffo
In the mammalian brain, the differentiation of neural cells and the developmental organization of the underlying circuitry are influenced by steroid hormones. The estrogen 17-β estradiol (E2) is one of the most potent regulators of neural growth during prenatal life, synthetized locally from steroid precursors including prenatal testicular testosterone. Estradiol promotes brain differentiation counting sexually dimorphic neural circuits by binding to the estrogen receptors, ER-α and ER-β. The cerebellum has been described as a site of estrogen action and a potentially sexually dimorphic area...
2017: Neuroendocrinology
Marie-Aline Charles, Cyrille Delpierre, Bernadette Bréant
In the 1980s, D. Barker and his team proposed the hypothesis of a fetal origin of adult diseases. The concept subsequently evolved into the developmental origins of health and diseases. Progresses in various domains such as social epidemiology, neuroscience, toxicology have contributed to establish the early years of life as a key period for future health. Finally, epigenetics has provided biological plausibility to long-term programming of health by early exposures. The convergence of all these currents has led to conceptualize human health in a complex and dynamic continuum, the Lifecourse Health Development, beginning in the prenatal period and covering the whole life...
January 2016: Médecine Sciences: M/S
Charles W Abbott, Olga O Kozanian, Joseph Kanaan, Kara M Wendel, Kelly J Huffman
BACKGROUND: In utero alcohol, or ethanol (EtOH), exposure produces developmental abnormalities in the brain of the fetus, which can result in lifelong behavioral abnormalities. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is a term used to describe a range of adverse developmental conditions caused by EtOH exposure during gestation. Children diagnosed with FASD potentially exhibit a host of phenotypes including growth retardation, facial dysmorphology, central nervous system anomalies, abnormal behavior, and cognitive deficits...
January 2016: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research
Roy Moncayo, Karina Ortner
BACKGROUND: Since the 1960s hypothyroidism together with iodine deficiency have been considered to be a principal determinant of cognition development. Following iodine supplementation programs and improved treatment options for hypothyroidism this relation might not be valid in 2015. On the other hand neurosciences have added different inputs also related to cognition. SCOPE OF REVIEW: We will examine the characteristics of the original and current publications on thyroid function and cognition and also add some general determinants of intelligence and cognition...
June 2015: BBA Clinical
András Jakab, Ivana Pogledic, Ernst Schwartz, Gerlinde Gruber, Christian Mitter, Peter C Brugger, Georg Langs, Veronika Schöpf, Gregor Kasprian, Daniela Prayer
The recent technological advancement of fast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences allowed the inclusion of diffusion tensor imaging, functional MRI, and proton MR spectroscopy in prenatal imaging protocols. These methods provide information beyond morphology and hold the key to improving several fields of human neuroscience and clinical diagnostics. Our review introduces the fundamental works that enabled these imaging techniques, and also highlights the most recent contributions to this emerging field of prenatal diagnostics, such as the structural and functional connectomic approach...
December 2015: Seminars in Ultrasound, CT, and MR
Sarah A Jablonski, Michael T Williams, Charles V Vorhees
Intrauterine methamphetamine exposure adversely affects the neurofunctional profile of exposed children, leading to a variety of higher order cognitive deficits, such as decreased attention, reduced working-memory capability, behavioral dysregulation, and spatial memory impairments (Kiblawi et al. in J Dev Behav Pediatr 34:31-37, 2013; Piper et al. in Pharmacol Biochem Behav 98:432-439 2011; Roussotte et al. in Neuroimage 54:3067-3075, 2011; Twomey et al. in Am J Orthopsychiatry 83:64-72, 2013). In animal models of developmental methamphetamine, both neuroanatomical and behavioral outcomes critically depend on the timing of methamphetamine administration...
2016: Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences
Jinglei Lv, Xi Jiang, Xiang Li, Dajiang Zhu, Shijie Zhao, Tuo Zhang, Xintao Hu, Junwei Han, Lei Guo, Zhihao Li, Claire Coles, Xiaoping Hu, Tianming Liu
Task-based fMRI activation mapping has been widely used in clinical neuroscience in order to assess different functional activity patterns in conditions such as prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) affected brains and healthy controls. In this paper, we propose a novel, alternative approach of group-wise sparse representation of the fMRI data of multiple groups of subjects (healthy control, exposed non-dysmorphic PAE and exposed dysmorphic PAE) and assess the systematic functional activity differences among these three populations...
August 30, 2015: Psychiatry Research
Anne Sabers, Freja C B Bertelsen, Jørgen Scheel-Krüger, Jens R Nyengaard, Arne Møller
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that long-term fetal valproic acid (VPA) exposure at doses relevant to the human clinic interferes with normal brain development. Pregnant rats were given intraperitoneal injections of VPA (20 mg/kg or 100 mg/kg) continuously during the last 9–12 days of pregnancy and during the lactation period until sacrifice on the 23rd postnatal day. Total number of neocortical neurons was estimated using the optical fraction at or and frontal cortical thicknesses were sampled in VPA exposed pups compared with an unexposed control group...
February 19, 2015: Neuroscience Letters
David J Bridgett, Nicole M Burt, Erin S Edwards, Kirby Deater-Deckard
This review examines mechanisms contributing to the intergenerational transmission of self-regulation. To provide an integrated account of how self-regulation is transmitted across generations, we draw from over 75 years of accumulated evidence, spanning case studies to experimental approaches, in literatures covering developmental, social, and clinical psychology, and criminology, physiology, genetics, and human and animal neuroscience (among others). First, we present a taxonomy of what self-regulation is and then examine how it develops--overviews that guide the main foci of the review...
May 2015: Psychological Bulletin
Leonardo Christov-Moore, Elizabeth A Simpson, Gino Coudé, Kristina Grigaityte, Marco Iacoboni, Pier Francesco Ferrari
Evidence suggests that there are differences in the capacity for empathy between males and females. However, how deep do these differences go? Stereotypically, females are portrayed as more nurturing and empathetic, while males are portrayed as less emotional and more cognitive. Some authors suggest that observed gender differences might be largely due to cultural expectations about gender roles. However, empathy has both evolutionary and developmental precursors, and can be studied using implicit measures, aspects that can help elucidate the respective roles of culture and biology...
October 2014: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Pengbo Yang, Junfeng Zhang, Hangyu Shi, Jianshui Zhang, Xi Xu, Xinli Xiao, Yong Liu
Hippocampus has attracted the attention of the neuroscientists for its involvement in a wide spectrum of higher-order brain functions and pathological conditions, especially its persistent neurogenesis in subgranular zone (SGZ). The development of hippocampus was intensively investigated on animals such as rodents. However, in prenatal human hippocampus, little information on the distribution of neural stem/progenitor cells, newly generated neurons and mature neurons is available and the timetable of a series of neurogenesis event is even more obscure...
November 2014: International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Andrew W Zimmerman, Susan L Connors
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 7, 2014: Science
Radovan Hruby, Lili M Maas, P G Fedor-Freybergh
The article introduces an integrative psychoneurodevelopmental model of complex human brain and mind development based on the latest findings in prenatal and perinatal medicine in terms of integrative neuroscience. The human brain development is extraordinarily complex set of events and could be influenced by a lot of factors. It is supported by new insights into the early neuro-ontogenic processes with the help of structural 3D magnetic resonance imaging or diffusion tensor imaging of fetal human brain. Various factors and targets for neural development including birth weight variability, fetal and early-life programming, fetal neurobehavioral states and fetal behavioral responses to various stimuli and others are discussed...
2013: Neuro Endocrinology Letters
Maja A Kwiatkowski, Annerine Roos, Dan J Stein, Kevin G F Thomas, Kirsty Donald
Prenatal methamphetamine exposure (PME) is a significant problem in several parts of the world and poses important health risks for the developing fetus. Research on the short- and long-term outcomes of PME is scarce, however. Here, we summarize present knowledge on the cognitive and behavioral outcomes of PME, based on a review of the neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and neuroscience literature published in the past 15 years. Several studies have reported that the behavioral and cognitive sequelae of PME include broad deficits in the domains of attention, memory, and visual-motor integration...
June 2014: Metabolic Brain Disease
R James R Blair
Conduct disorder is a childhood behaviour disorder that is characterized by persistent aggressive or antisocial behaviour that disrupts the child's environment and impairs his or her functioning. A proportion of children with conduct disorder have psychopathic traits. Psychopathic traits consist of a callous-unemotional component and an impulsive-antisocial component, which are associated with two core impairments. The first is a reduced empathic response to the distress of other individuals, which primarily reflects reduced amygdala responsiveness to distress cues; the second is deficits in decision making and in reinforcement learning, which reflects dysfunction in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and striatum...
November 2013: Nature Reviews. Neuroscience
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