Ever looked at your baby and wondered what’s going on in that beautiful little head? Well, a new study by scientists from the University of California’s JAMA neurology unit have dished the dirt on what’s happening to the brain of a baby just after birth.
The typical way of measuring brain growth is with a good old tape measure around the head. The problem with this method is that babies have different sixed heads, which messes with the readings taken by the tape measure. The research in question has used advanced scanning techniques to look a newborn baby’s brain development, with the ultimate goal of better understanding how early brain abnormalities occur.
And the researchers found out some pretty interesting stuff!
Firstly, boy brains grow faster than girl brains.
Secondly, the most rapid brain changes occur immediately after birth; the little brains grow at an average rate of 1 per cent per day, gradually tailing off to 0.4 per cent per day by around the three month mark.
Something else the scans revealed is that the brains of babies born earlier than their due date were 4 per cent smaller than the brains of babies born on or around their due date. Even though the brains of earlier babies do grow faster than the brains of babies born on time, their brains were still 2 per cent smaller at the 90-day mark.
The research is revolutionary in the sense that it’s the first time that accurate data not based on post-mortem studies or less advanced scanning methods, has been published on how newborn babies’ brains grow – as articulate by Dr Martin Ward Platt, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, when interviewed by the BBC.
It’s exciting to live in a time in which technology can be used to aid child development in such a beneficial way!
For more info on the study, read “Scans chart how quickly babies’ brains grow” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28740495) on bbc.co.uk.