Neuroscience

How the 'noise' in our brain influences our behavior

The brain's neural activity is irregular, changing from one moment to the next. To date, this apparent "noise" has been thought to be due to random natural variations or measurement error. However, researchers at the Max ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

How the pandemic may damage children's social intelligence

Do you remember the excitement and anticipation of your first day at school? Perhaps you were looking forward to making new friends. Or maybe you were shy and anxious. Research shows that such excitement and stress are the ...

Diabetes

Diabetes complications in young children target the brain

Brain volume, verbal IQ, and overall IQ are lower in children with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) than in children without diabetes, according to a new longitudinal study published in Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes ...

Genetics

'Hidden biological link' among autism genes revealed in study

A new study of autism risk genes by UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley scientists implicates disruption in prenatal neurogenesis—a process in which specialized "progenitor" cells give rise to new brain cells—in the development ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Study reveals cause of common Zika virus birth defect

Cleveland Clinic researchers have described for the first time how Zika virus (ZIKV) causes one of the most common birth defects associated with prenatal infection, called brain calcification, according to new study findings ...

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Neural development

The study of neural development draws on both neuroscience and developmental biology to describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which complex nervous systems emerge during embryonic development and throughout life.

Some landmarks of embryonic neural development include the birth and differentiation of neurons from stem cell precursors, the migration of immature neurons from their birthplaces in the embryo to their final positions, outgrowth of axons from neurons and guidance of the motile growth cone through the embryo towards postsynaptic partners, the generation of synapses between these axons and their postsynaptic partners, and finally the lifelong changes in synapses which are thought to underlie learning and memory.

Typically, these neurodevelopmental processes can be broadly divided into two classes: activity-independent mechanisms and activity-dependent mechanisms. Activity-independent mechanisms are generally believed to occur as hardwired processes determined by genetic programs played out within individual neurons. These include differentiation, migration and axon guidance to their initial target areas. These processes are thought of as being independent of neural activity and sensory experience. Once axons reach their target areas, activity-dependent mechanisms come into play. Neural activity and sensory experience will mediate formation of new synapses, as well as synaptic plasticity, which will be responsible for refinement of the nascent neural circuits.

Developmental neuroscience uses a variety of animal models including mice Mus musculus , the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster , the zebrafish Danio rerio, Xenopus laevis tadpoles and the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, among others.

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