Imaging how infants' cerebellum and its sub-regions change during the first two years and correlate with acquisition of motor skills
The human body carries on developing after birth – but the rate of these changes is still in question for developmental biologists. Here scientists take magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of sleeping children’s cerebellums over the first two years of life, showing months 1–5 (top row) and regular intervals afterwards (bottom) from three different angles. While the young brain is constantly growing, it’s growing at a faster rate (warmer colours) during the first six months. The researchers investigated further, analysing the scans from 235 healthy children and looking at how 27 individual regions of their cerebellums change – finding, for example, that changes in specific ‘lobules’ corresponded with milestones in fine motor skills. This data could be used to pinpoint developmental windows for further study, or even to diagnose health issues or injuries during a toddler’s early life.
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