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SCIENCE
March 30, 2006 | By Robert Lee Hotz, Times Staff Writer
Smart children have a different rhythm in their heads — a seesaw pattern of growth that lags years behind other young people — say government scientists who mapped the brains of hundreds of children. Seeking a link between neural anatomy and mental ability, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and McGill University in Montreal discovered it where they least expected — not in sheer brain size or special structures, but in the patterns of childhood growth. Brain development in children with the highest IQ peaked four years later than among average children, the researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.
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SCIENCE
November 24, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
A type of brain cell once thought to be little more than the neuron's supportive sidekick may have a lead role in pruning the electrochemical connections that are crucial to brain development, learning, memory and cognition, a new study suggests. Astrocytes, a type of glial cell, turn out to be veritable Pac-men, steadily gobbling up weak, extraneous and redundant synapses that are the vital link between neurons, according to a study published online Sunday in the journal Nature.
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SCIENCE
July 24, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
Children who grow up in institutions instead of with families have major deficits in brain development, a study of Romanian orphans has shown. The findings, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, underscore the importance of an enriched environment during infancy and childhood and may help explain the increased rates of depression and anxiety disorders known to exist among institutionalized children....
SCIENCE
August 28, 2013 | By Eryn Brown
Scientists have figured out how to grow human stem cells into "cerebral organoids" - blobs of tissue that mimic the anatomy of the developing brain. The advance, reported online Wednesday by the journal Nature, won't allow scientists to grow disembodied brains in laboratory vats, said study leader Juergen Knoblich, a stem cell researcher at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna. But it does offer researchers an unprecedented view of human brain anatomy, he said.
SCIENCE
June 6, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
If you lived during the early Cold War, you got nuked. On the other hand, you may have grown new brain cells. That's the take-away of research in the journal Cell that calculated the growth of brain cells in adult brains by using an isotope of carbon that was picked up by humans from the fallout due to above-ground nuclear testing from the late 1940s to 1963. Neuroscientists have shifted from an old view that you'll never have more neurons than you had when your brain was a pup. Studies have suggested that adult brains generate new neurons, particularly in the hippocampus, an area crucial to learning and memory.
NEWS
February 13, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Children who have been victims of abuse may suffer long-term psychological effects well into adulthood. But now, a new study shows that the effects of abuse can be physiological as well. People who had been subjected to maltreatment during childhood actually had less volume in certain parts of their brains, according to a new study released Monday by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston studied 193 adults aged 25 and younger, and interviewed them to see whether they had been subject to a variety of different types of abuse, from 'harsh corporal punishment' down to 'parental verbal aggression.' They scanned the subjects with an MRI machine to see what their brains looked like.
SCIENCE
July 29, 2002 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Zinc supplements given to infants in developing countries to improve growth and reduce susceptibility to infectious diseases could be harming the children's mental development, British researchers reported in Saturday's issue of the British journal The Lancet.
HEALTH
May 14, 2001 | THOMAS H. MAUGH II, TIMES MEDICAL WRITER
Chelation therapy to remove lead from the bodies of young children apparently does nothing to improve development of their brains, federal researchers say. Exposure to lead, such as in old paint or in dust contaminated by gasoline additives, is known to reduce IQ and otherwise impair brain development. Although lead exposures have declined, about 1% of children still have unusually high levels of the element in their blood.
SCIENCE
June 22, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
Does depth perception develop in humans as a result of nature or nurture? It's a question scientists have wondered about. And a new study comes to a surprising conclusion: Babies acquire binocular vision as a result of viewing the world around them, not merely thanks to genetic programming. "My guess was that it was going to be something in between nature and nurture," said study leader Ilona Kovacs, a psychologist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.
SCIENCE
August 31, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
Scientists recently reported they had pieced together a high-quality sequence of an archaic human relative, the Denisovans. Among other things, the researchers took a close look at the ways in which we differ from these people, who were named after the place where their traces were discovered: Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Here's a little more about the things the scientists found that didn't make it into the article about the Denisovan genome we published Thursday . It's "fascinating" to see the DNA changes that spread to most or all modern humans since our line split off from that of the Denisovans and the Neanderthals, said senior author Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
SCIENCE
August 22, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Nothing gets our attention like pain. But pain is more than the body's miniature cattle prod to get us to heed a wound, rest a swollen ankle, or stop eating chili peppers. Pain may be the language between animals and microbes. Far from being a product of an inflamed immune system, aggravated nerves far from the spine and brain appear to communicate with invading bacteria and regulate the fight against them, according to a study published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
SCIENCE
July 10, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
An immune system that ensures survival is one of the earliest gifts from a mother to her child. But sometimes, that gift can be a Trojan horse, sending soldiers that are programmed to attack the body's own antigens into the fetus, where they interfere with brain development. The result is maternal autoantibody related (MAR) autism, which may account for as much as 23% of the cases of that spectrum of brain disorders. Now UC Davis researchers believe they have found the targets of these maternal autoantibodies, a potential step in the path toward preventive treatment for women contemplating pregnancy.
SCIENCE
June 6, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
If you lived during the early Cold War, you got nuked. On the other hand, you may have grown new brain cells. That's the take-away of research in the journal Cell that calculated the growth of brain cells in adult brains by using an isotope of carbon that was picked up by humans from the fallout due to above-ground nuclear testing from the late 1940s to 1963. Neuroscientists have shifted from an old view that you'll never have more neurons than you had when your brain was a pup. Studies have suggested that adult brains generate new neurons, particularly in the hippocampus, an area crucial to learning and memory.
SCIENCE
May 31, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
How an autistic baby's brain fires up in response to words at 2 years of age may predict how well that child will learn language and even think and behave later in life, a new study shows. The research, published this week in the online journal PLOS One, suggests that a “social gateway” based in the brain impedes not only early language processing, but a broader spectrum of cognitive development, including the ability to adapt behavior to circumstances, according to Patricia Kuhl, who studies early language and brain development at the University of Washington's Institute for Brain and Learning Sciences.
BUSINESS
May 14, 2013 | By Jessica Guynn, Los Angeles Times
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Even though its ubiquitous Internet search engine practically mints money, Google Inc. was widely seen as a company whose best days were behind it. It was written off as the next Microsoft Corp. - a staid high-tech giant in the shadows of Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. that had lost its sense of urgency and innovative edge. But that sentiment has shifted dramatically over the last year, and when Google swings open the doors to its annual conference for software developers Wednesday, it won't just be showcasing its latest products.
NEWS
November 26, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, For the Booster Shots Blog
In a finding that points to a link between environmental toxins and autism, a new study shows that children who were exposed to the highest levels of traffic-related air pollution during gestation and in early infancy were three times more likely to be diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder than were those whose early exposure to such pollutants was very low. The study , published Monday in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found that...
SCIENCE
October 9, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Taking a common class of antidepressants called serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SRIs, during pregnancy alters the developmental time-course of the child's language processing, according to a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the results are striking, they hardly suggest the practice should be stopped: The researchers found that the children of women who are depressed while pregnant and who do not take medication are also born with an altered course of development.
SCIENCE
August 31, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
Scientists recently reported they had pieced together a high-quality sequence of an archaic human relative, the Denisovans. Among other things, the researchers took a close look at the ways in which we differ from these people, who were named after the place where their traces were discovered: Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Here's a little more about the things the scientists found that didn't make it into the article about the Denisovan genome we published Thursday . It's "fascinating" to see the DNA changes that spread to most or all modern humans since our line split off from that of the Denisovans and the Neanderthals, said senior author Svante Paabo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
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