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Brain Development

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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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
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 1990 | MARGIE PATLAK, Patlak is a free-lance writer based in Portland, Ore.
As the dramatic abortion debate plays out in courtrooms and legislatures across the nation, a basic and vitally important question arises ever more insistently--when does human life begin? The Roman Catholic Church claims conception is life's starting point, whereas most current abortion laws are keyed to when the fetus might survive if born prematurely (at the end of the second trimester).
SCIENCE
November 13, 2007 | Denise Gellene, Times Staff Writer
The brains of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder develop more slowly than those of other children but eventually catch up, according to a government study published Monday that suggests ADHD may be a transient condition, at least for some. Using advanced imaging techniques, scientists found that the cortices of children with ADHD reach peak thickness an average of three years later than children without the disorder.
NEWS
October 22, 2010
Slow down when you speak. That’s advice not just for children who stutter but for their parents too. Being more relaxed in your own speech helps a stutterer more than telling them to "try it again slowly. " The tip comes from the Stuttering Foundation , which marks International Stuttering Awareness Day on Friday. The goal is to spread the word about early intervention, reports the Newport News Daily Press blog Health Notes . Not every kid who stutters will do so for the rest of his or her life.
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.
HEALTH
May 24, 2004 | Jane E. Allen, Times Staff Writer
Perhaps there's an explanation after all for why some teenagers are so notoriously difficult: Their minds cannot yet fully reason. Government researchers found in a recent study that the last areas of the brain to mature in humans appear to be those responsible for reasoning, problem-solving and other sophisticated functions. This doesn't happen until sometime between the ages of 18 and 21. The findings come from researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md.
HEALTH
September 7, 1998
Although the fetus weighs well under a pound, the major organs and systems of the body are formed by the end of the first trimester. MONTH ONE The embryo develops a simple brain, spine and central nervous system. Weeks 3-8: Greatest sensitivity to teratogens. Week 4: The skin cells begin to form in two layers. MONTH TWO Week 5: Fetal cells in mother's blood can be used to identify birth defects. The heart is less than a half-inch in diameter and begins to beat.
NEWS
June 28, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
"Teenagers are often impulsive. " That's the opening sentence of a new scientific paper. Raise your hand if you're a parent of an adolescent and agree. Impulsivity is a major focus on researchers studing the brain and human behavior because being overly impulsive or a risk-taker or dare-devil is linked to more problems in life. Kids who can't seem to control their impulses make bad decisions: like swallowing a mysterious pill someone brought to school or riding on a skateboard attached to a car. They are driven by a need for instant gratification and fail to consider the long-term consequences of their actions.
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