brain development

A look at the brain's wiring can often reveal whether a person has trouble staying focused, and even whether he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD.

A team led by researchers at Yale University reports that they were able to identify many children and adolescents with ADHD by studying data on the strength of certain connections in their brains.

The simple act of thinking can accelerate the growth of many brain tumors.

That's the conclusion of a paper in Cell published Thursday that showed how activity in the cerebral cortex affected high-grade gliomas, which represent about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors in people.

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Kids may not be getting the kind of exercise they need in P.E. class, according to recent research. In a recent paper in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Gregory Myer, a researcher in sports medicine at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, argues that the neuroplasticity of pre-adolescent brains allows for easier development of skills like jumping, throwing, kicking and balancing, skill often no longer emphasized in school exercise curricula.   


Can Family Secrets Make You Sick?

Mar 3, 2015

In the 1980s, Dr. Vincent Felitti, now director of the California Institute of Preventive Medicine in San Diego, discovered something potentially revolutionary about the ripple effects of child sexual abuse. He discovered it while trying to solve a very different health problem: helping severely obese people lose weight.

Our "Tools of the Trade" series is taking a look at some of the iconic objects that form a vital part of our educational lives. For an upcoming piece, I'm reporting on how young children learn through that most basic of preschool education tools: simple wooden blocks.

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Negative childhood experiences can set our brains to constantly feel danger and fear says psychiatrist and traumatic stress expert Bessel van der Kolk. He's the author of the recently published book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.


Side Effects Public Media is a reporting collaborative focused on public health.  Find more of our reporting on childhood trauma and PTSD here.

A  report by the University of San Diego School of Law found that about 686,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. Traumatic childhood events can lead to mental health and behavioral problems later in life, explains psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk, author of the recently published book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Children’s brains are literally shaped by traumatic experiences, which can lead to problems with anger, addiction, and even criminal activity in adulthood, says van der Kolk. Side Effects contributing producer Barbara Lewis spoke with him about his book. 

Teens can't control impulses and make rapid, smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

"Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' " Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed Directly Into Brain Cells

Oct 24, 2014
Daniel Abernathy

Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, the study’s authors report.

Decoy Drug Allows Brains Of Adult Mice To Form New Connections

Oct 17, 2014
Norbert von der Groeben

At critical times in the brain’s development, windows open for neurons to reach out and form new 

connections. The language window, for example, is open for a time to allow kids to learn multiple languages and speak them like a native. Then it mostly closes, leaving adults fumbling for words and unable to roll their R’s.

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