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Stimulus grant of nearly $9 million to UC San Diego funds big study of young brains
Date:10/15/2009

tors that contribute to individuality. Understanding why we have different personalities and mental qualities is critically important for solving many problems that affect children," she said. "The impact of the study is likely to be very broad it will provide information that could help to enhance education, improve early detection of mental disorders, and identify targets for early interventions that may prevent negative outcomes, such as addiction and mental disorders."

Dale, professor of radiology and neurosciences in UC San Diego's School of Medicine and one of the world's leading developers of sophisticated computational neuroimaging techniques, said "Our major aim is to create a database essentially a map depicting the genomic landscape of the developing human brain as a resource for the scientific community."

Since it is known that structural and functional connectivity in the brain undergoes continuous remodeling during childhood, the investigators have chosen to study 1,400 children between the ages of 3 and 20. This will make it possible to search for links between genetic variation and developing patterns of brain connectivity, and to examine the implications for emerging personality and mental abilities.

Investigators interested in the effects of a particular gene will be able to search the database for any brain areas or connections between areas that differ as a function of variation in a particular gene, and to determine if the genes appear to affect the course of brain development at some point during childhood.

The scientists will also be looking for links to the developing behavior of the children. The investigators plan to gather data on many aspects of human brain architecture, including the patterns of connection between brain regions, using different types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

"This should give us a better understanding of the role or contribution that specific gene variants hav
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Contact: Paul K. Mueller
pkmueller@ucsd.edu
858-534-8564
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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Stimulus grant of nearly $9 million to UC San Diego funds big study of young brains
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