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Baby Brains

Imaging how infants' cerebellum and its sub-regions change during the first two years and correlate with acquisition of motor skills

07 May 2023

Baby Brains

The human body carries on developing after birth – but the rate of these changes is still in question for developmental biologists. Here scientists take magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of sleeping children’s cerebellums over the first two years of life, showing months 1–5 (top row) and regular intervals afterwards (bottom) from three different angles. While the young brain is constantly growing, it’s growing at a faster rate (warmer colours) during the first six months. The researchers investigated further, analysing the scans from 235 healthy children and looking at how 27 individual regions of their cerebellums change – finding, for example, that changes in specific ‘lobules’ corresponded with milestones in fine motor skills. This data could be used to pinpoint developmental windows for further study, or even to diagnose health issues or injuries during a toddler’s early life.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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