Genes found in the placenta can accurately help predict the size of a baby's brain and its cognitive development, which, depending on other factors, could predict risk factors for schizophrenia in later life.
Two new studies shed light on brain development and changes in ASD. Researchers found the development of white matter tracts in the brain was linked to the severity of autism symptoms. Additionally, larger brain size at age 3 was linked to a larger brain size later in childhood.
Study reveals a new role for serotonin in the development of the human neocortex. Serotonin acts cell-extrinsically as a growth factor for basal progenitors in the developing neocortex. Researchers report placenta-driven serotonin likely contributed to the evolutionary expansion of the neocortex in humans.
During pregnancy, the maternal environment has a dominant influence on the length of the neurogenic period and the number of upper-layer neurons produced. The study reveals a link between the maternal environment and embryonic cortical neurogenesis in-vitro.
Depression and anxiety have a profound effect on brain areas associated with memory and emotional processing. In people with depression and anxiety, researchers noted shrinkage to the hippocampus. By contrast, the amygdala increased in size.