Summary

In this presentation, Weili Lin explains how biomedical imaging can uncover the interplay between nutrition and early brain development. 

Up until now, the regularly used measurements of brain development such as head circumference and subjective cognitive tests have been somewhat limited as they do not provide regional brain information.  Imaging is non-invasive and allows whole brain coverage.  It can provide anatomical information reflecting cellular processes and can assess and quantify brain function and cognitive development as well as longitudinal evaluation. 

Recently, a major joint venture research project in the US has brought together the latest MRI techniques with nutritional and behavioural experts to study thousands of infants’ brains through their first years of life.  The programme is looking at nutritional intake, feeding practices, behavioural and cognitive assessments, breastmilk samples, home environment, microbiota, sleep quality and environmental pollution exposure, and is mapping these factors against brain images to measure early development.

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