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Impairments in language development can be detected in infants as young as 3 months
Date:4/10/2008

uding dense array EEG/ERP recordings, Benasich and her lab are able to analyze EEG, ERPs and the proportion of gamma power in infant brains. The dense sensor array allows the researchers to gently measure a full range of brain activity. Those measurements are obtained by placing a soft bonnet of sensors, resembling a hairnet with lots of little sponges, on a babys head and then having the infant listen to different series of rapid tone sequences.

We are finding that children who have difficulty processing rapid auditory input are not just showing a simple maturational lag, but are actually processing incoming acoustic information differently, says Benasich.

Specifically, the research shows that babies who struggle with rapid auditory processing appear to be using different brain areas (as shown by neural patterns) and perhaps different analysis strategies to accomplish that task than children who do not have such difficulties. Included among their initial findings, the researchers have found less left hemisphere activity in the brains of children who struggle with rapid auditory processing as compared with matched control children. By pinpointing the exact differences in how the brain handles incoming acoustic information, it may become possible to guide the brains of babies at risk of developing language problems to work more efficiently before the children even begin to speak.

We can predict with about 90 percent accuracy what a babys language capabilities will be just by their response to tones, says Benasich. Our hope now is that we will be able to gently guide the brains of infants who are at the highest risk for language learning impairments to be more efficient processors so they can avoid the difficulties that result from struggling with language.

To shed additional light on how inefficiencies in rapid auditory processing might be corrected, Benasich and her team have developed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) protocol fo
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Contact: Helen Paxton
paxton@andromeda.rutgers.edu
973-353-5262
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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