Play, Stress, and the Learning Brain
In this article, adapted from Dr. Sam Wang and Dr. Sandra Aamodt’s book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College (Bloomsbury USA, 2011; OneWorld Publications, 2011), the authors explore how play enhances brain development in children. As Wang and Aamodt describe, play activates the brain’s reward circuitry but not negative stress responses, which can facilitate attention and action. Through play, children practice social interaction and build skills and interests to draw upon in the years to come.
Tracking the Tracts: Rare Disease Yields Clues to Early Myelin DevelopmentQ&A with Maria Escolar, M.D.
Dana grantee Maria Escolar’s research could provide a better way to diagnose and treat infants with Krabbe disease and other motor diseases before the onset of visible symptoms, when treatment works best.
Effects of Stress on the Developing Brain
Early-life stress can lead to long-lasting behavioral, mental, and physical consequences. Fortunately, preventive measures can improve health outcomes, and while interventions for those who have already experienced debilitating early-life stress require considerable effort, they remain possible, thanks to the brain’s plasticity. Complementary article to "From Lab Bench to Court Bench."
From Lab Bench to Court BenchUsing Science to Inform Decisions in Juvenile Court
Juvenile court judges are asked to determine what is in the best interest of the child in every case they hear. Until about a decade ago, court decisions were routinely made without taking into consideration the needs of toddlers and infants. The Miami Child Well-Being Court™ (MCWBC) program, a partnership of clinicians and judges, has brought science into the courtroom, making it integral to the decision-making process and working to ensure that the needs of the child are met. Complementary article to "Effects of Stress on the Developing Brain"
Fear in LoveAttachment, Abuse, and the Developing Brain
Dr. Regina Sullivan explains how her research with rat pups has led to greater understanding of the infant brain, and how negative early experiences can cause long-term genetic, brain, behavioral, and hormonal changes that can affect not only the abuse victim but also the victim’s descendants.
The Teen Brain: Primed to Learn, Primed to Take Risks
The changes the brain undergoes during adolescence pave the way to adulthood, priming the young person for life away from home and for finding unrelated mates. But this plasticity also can open the door to poor decision making and risky behavior, writes Jay N. Giedd, a child psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health.
No Child Left Without a Brain Scan?Toward a Pediatric Neuroethics
Will my baby be born with a normal, healthy brain? Are neurological problems getting in the way of my child’s learning? Does my teenager have any special vulnerability to emotional disorders? Many parents are plagued by worries like these, questions that possibly could be clarified by brain scans. But when is scanning needed? Who should have access to the results? What safeguards are advisable?