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:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice ... "Film editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the ... of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to ... Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to ... fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited ... To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. ... highest quality of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Consumers have ... and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis on patient ... patient support programs in the pharmaceutical industry have ... medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing on becoming ... are providing products and services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for ... of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, ... Center for Innovation, today announced the five finalists ... Hackathon for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy of ... recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies to ... entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a move ... of new medicines. The recommendations address restrictions ... appear on the drug label, a prohibition that hinders ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: