A project to map how connections in the brains of babies develop during pregnancy and after birth has published its first set of images. These come from scans of 40 newborn, sleeping babies. In this image each colour shows neurons that travel in a particular direction. This allows researchers to see how different brain regions connect together, and to explore how these connections grow and strengthen over time, and how this may go wrong in disease. It’s thought that people who go on develop conditions such as depression, schizophrenia and ADHD in adolescence and adulthood may have shown differences in how their brains were wired up in early childhood. The team will compare scans of healthy babies with those known to be at risk of these conditions. They aim to identify how subtle changes in early brain connections can influence our health throughout our lives.
Written by Charlotte Rose Davison
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.