(Neuroscience News) The fundamental organization of brain networks is established in utero during the second and third trimesters of fetal development, according to research published in Journal of Neuroscience. The finding lays the groundwork for understanding how the prenatal period shapes future brain function.
by Staff Writer, November 4th 2019
The brain functions as a complex network of regions that communicate with each other, known as the functional connectome. During fetal development, the functional connectome begins to take form as early as the late second trimester of pregnancy.
Turk et al. examined 105 pregnant women between 20 and 40 weeks gestation who participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study – a non-invasive technology that allows researchers to peer at the connections forming in the fetal brain.
The researchers found that second and third trimester fetuses possess a blueprint for the functional connection. In comparison with the mature adult connectome, the fetal connectome showed a 61% overlap in motor, visual, auditory and some cognitive functions. The research opens the possibility to examine how maternal stress, alcohol use, infections and risk factors exert lasting impact on brain circuitry.
Calli McMurray – SfN
The image is credited to Turk et al., JNeurosci 2019.
Original Research: Open access
“Functional Connectome of the Fetal Brain”. Elise Turk, Marion I. van den Heuvel, Manon J. Benders, Roel de Heus, Arie Franx, Janessa H. Manning, Jasmine L. Hect, Edgar Hernandez-Andrade, Sonia S. Hassan, Roberto Romero, René S. Kahn, Moriah E. Thomason and Martijn P. van den Heuvel.
Journal of Neuroscience doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2891-18.2019.
Functional Connectome of the Fetal Brain
Large-scale functional connectome formation and re-organization is apparent in the second trimester of pregnancy, making it a crucial and vulnerable time window in connectome development. Here we identified which architectural principles of functional connectome organization are initiated prior to birth, and contrast those with topological characteristics observed in the mature adult brain. A sample of 105 pregnant women participated in human fetal resting-state fMRI studies (fetal gestational age between 20 and 40 weeks). Connectome analysis was used to analyze weighted network characteristics of fetal macroscale brain wiring. We identified efficient network attributes, common functional modules and high overlap between the fetal and adult brain network. Our results indicate that key features of the functional connectome are present in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Understanding the organizational principles of fetal connectome organization may bring opportunities to develop markers for early detection of alterations of brain function.
The fetal to neonatal period is well known as a critical stage in brain development. Rapid neurodevelopmental processes establish key functional neural circuits of the human brain. Prenatal risk factors may interfere with early trajectories of connectome formation and thereby shape future health outcomes. Recent advances in MRI have made it possible to examine fetal brain functional connectivity. In this study, we evaluate the network topography of normative functional network development during connectome genesis in utero. Understanding the developmental trajectory of brain connectivity provides a basis for understanding how the prenatal period shapes future brain function and disease dysfunction.
Body For Awareness Project: Your Body. Your Clothes. Your Truth. On Sale Now.
Stillness in the Storm Editor: Why did we post this?
The development of technology is often interpreted as a sign civilization is progressing forward, that it is improving. Understanding these advancements is important because it helps you navigate your life with greater ease, as people need accurate maps of the world to live out their dreams and desires. However, all technology is not created equal. Some technology holds back human progress. But not all technology is bad. The preceding information discusses a technology advancement. It has been claimed that much of the technology being publically released is only a small taste of what truly exists behind closed doors. By taking the time to understand the truths of our world, we better prepare ourselves for life. And we can anticipate how these developments might alter human society, taking the time to guard against harmful tech while learning how to incorporate beneficial advancements.
Not sure how to make sense of this? Want to learn how to discern like a pro? Read this essential guide to discernment, analysis of claims, and understanding the truth in a world of deception: 4 Key Steps of Discernment – Advanced Truth-Seeking Tools.
Stillness in the Storm Editor’s note: Did you find a spelling error or grammar mistake? Send an email to email@example.com, with the error and suggested correction, along with the headline and url. Do you think this article needs an update? Or do you just have some feedback? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading.