Navigation Links
Brain Scans Could Spot Developmental Problems in Kids

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that a quick MRI scan could tell doctors if a child's brain is maturing properly, potentially providing an early warning sign that mental problems are developing.

Researchers say the strategy could turn an ordinary brain scan into a tool similar to the age-old growth charts that tell pediatricians if kids are growing at an appropriate rate.

"It's a way to understand individual differences and make predictions about an individual's neurologic and psychological health," said study co-author Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar. "The earlier you can intervene, the more likely it is that you'll benefit a patient."

Currently, brain scans don't play a major role in the treatment of mental illness, said Schlaggar, an associate professor of developmental neurology at Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children's Hospital.

It's possible to find a tumor or diagnose a stroke with the help of a brain scan, he said, but the technology almost always fails to reveal any problems in the brain of a person who has a disorder like autism, schizophrenia or epilepsy. "That's vexing," he said, "because you know that something is wrong with the brain, but the report is normal."

In the new study, Schlaggar and colleagues report that they've found a way around this challenge. Using MRI technology that detects which areas of the brain are most active based on their usage of oxygen, they scanned 238 volunteers aged 7 to 30. They compiled the results and developed a baseline of what the brains of people should look like as they grow older.

The findings, which are published in the Sept. 10 issue of Science, could allow doctors to measure whether a patient's brain has matured to the level it should have reached based on his or her age, Schlaggar said.

But if a child's brain isn't as developed as it should be, can doctors do anything about it? Possibly, said Dr. Paul R. Carney, chief of pediatric neurology at the University of Florida.

If a 7-year-old child has a frontal lobe that looks like that of a 5-year-old, for example, doctors could turn to learning therapies designed to boost that part of the brain, said Carney, who's familiar with the findings.

"Right now, most learning techniques don't speak to a specific brain network," Carney said. "But here, you'd be able to design a therapy and measure the response."

In other words, the brain scans could both diagnose a problem in the brain and help gauge whether a treatment is working.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on MRI brain scans.

SOURCES: Bradley L. Schlaggar, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, developmental neurology, Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children's Hospital; Paul R. Carney, M.D., professor and chief, pediatric neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville; Sept. 10, 2010, Science

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Gadgets not related to teenagers brain pain
2. Dementia Rates Escalate as Brain Capacity Diminishes with Age
3. Researchers discover new way to kill pediatric brain tumors
4. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
5. Physical Changes in Brain Linked to Altered Spirituality
6. Pro Athletes Brains React at Olympic Speed
7. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
8. Brain Scan Shows What Beauty is Worth
9. Study supports alternative anti-seizure medication following acute brain injury
10. Exercise helps protect brain of multiple sclerosis patients
11. Pittsburgh Neurosurgeons Explore Use of Drug that Illuminates Brain Tumor Cells To Guide Surgery
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Brain Scans Could Spot Developmental Problems in Kids
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... offering factory direct sauna parts and accessories. , Sauna accessories help improve ... the bather’s style and personality. From basic styles for the purist looking for ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... Union Commission (AUC), European Union (EU), ANDI Pan African Centres of Excellence, and ... Office in Nairobi (UNON) for the opening of the 5th African Network for ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... For the ... companies’ “ Two Organizations, One Beat ” campaign. The partnership between the two groups ... to aid in MAP International’s cause. , MAP International was founded in 1954 and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Lakeview ... the country to celebrate their sobriety and show through pictures what a positive ... after” photos this Thanksgiving with the hashtag #FacesOfGratitude on their Facebook, Twitter, and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... On November 25, 2015, officials of Narconon Arrowhead , the drug ... a new cutting edge recovery program that has been 50 years in the making. ... individuals with the purpose to free addicts from the symptoms and negative behaviors of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 --> ... SyMRI to find optimal contrast weighting of MRI for ... has signed a research agreement with SyntheticMR in order to ... SyMRI, it is possible to generate multiple contrast images from ... patient has left, thus making it possible to both fine ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , November 26, 2015 ... 1.82 billion by 2022, according to a new report by ... as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) which demands kidney transplantation is ... convenient and cost effective substitute for organ transplantation. --> ... 1.82 billion by 2022, according to a new report by ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ) has ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the ... Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> ) has announced the ... and Growth Strategies in the French Drugs ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: