Building the Physiology of Thought (NEW!)

Shared the fascinating insights on Theory of Mind: recognizing and predicting what others think, want and feel using cases of children and adults.

Long Term Effects of Early Nutrition on Brain Development and Function (NEW!)

Early development and long-term function of the brain are critically dependent on adequate nutrient supply during pregnancy and early childhood.

Low Birth Weight Tied to Later-Life Diabetes (NEW!)

Two large prospective cohort studies from Shanghai, China showed that the risk of type 2 diabetes was higher among both men and women of low birthweight later in life, with a trend toward increased risk of hypertension as well.

Bayley-III: Administration and Scoring (NEW!)

The administration, scoring, and interpretation of the Bayley-III components were described during this webinar.

Baby Connectome Project: brain functional maturation (NEW!)

Throughout the process of brain functional maturation, there are both sensitive and critical periods. The sensitive period is a phase when the effects of experience and environment on the development of a specific brain function are strong; the critical period is when these effects are critically important for normal development.

Optimum Nutrition for the Developing Brain

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) including Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) and Arachidonic acid (ARA), are key building blocks in the brain and should be a part of diet throughout infancy and later childhood. High levels of DHA concentrated in the brain cortex promote synthesis of synaptic membranes and increase the quantity of dendritic spines. In infants, there is a rapid uptake of DHA in the frontal cortex, which influences problem solving and control of attention.

Nutrition and the infant gut microbiota

The infant microbiota colonization process runs in parallel with immune system maturation, affecting intestinal physiology and regulation. Accumulating evidence suggests that microbial exposition begins before birth (in utero) and continues after birth. It is shaped by mode of delivery, and breastfeeding practices are the most important factors. The maternal microbiota is the main source of microorganisms for the infant gut, and breast milk constitutes the most important source of post-natal microbes. From birth onwards, infant microbial diversity increases and converges towards an adult-like microbiota at 3–5 years of life. Imbalances in this microbial colonization are considered strong risk factors for the development of non-communicable diseases. According to available data, an adequate nutritional and microbial environment in early life is key in microbiological, immunological and metabolic programming of infant health.

How does the brain really work?

Over the last decades, epidemiological and interventional studies have shown that nutrition and some specific nutrients impact brain and cognitive development and brain health, functionally and structurally. Moreover, managing nutritional habit through specific diet has a positive impact on health. Some specific nutrients, such as the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have also been shown to promote brain development and support cognitive function during aging. However, our understanding of how nutrition affects brain function remains very limited.

Predicting the future - new concepts in brain flexibility

Executive function in pre-school aged children has been shown to be a strong predictor of future academic achievement. Therefore, the ability to characterize the maturation/developmental processes of executive function during early brain development could be of paramount importance in cultivating strategies to enhance executive function. Although the major components of executive function emerge around 3 years of age, the attention system develops earlier and has been strongly advocated as a prerequisite for proper development of executive function. It is, therefore, not surprising that associations between the maturation of the attention system in early infancy and subsequent performance in executive function have been widely reported.

Everyone's talking about human milk oligosaccharides

The early-life gut microbiome is important for the development of immune competence in newborn infants. Mode of delivery, perinatal antibiotic use and diet are most influential to this end. Breastfeeding is associated with lower risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, and possibly lower risk of diabetes and obesity, while the effect on allergies is not so clear. This suggests that breast milk-specific components may contribute. Among them are the non-digestible human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), the third largest solid breast milk component that varies primarily due to the maternal genotype for the Secretor and Lewis genes and stage of lactation. Other milk oligosaccharides are also relevant here.
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Academic Activities

3rd Pediatric Endocrinology Update: “Healthly Hormonal Lifespan: From Fetus to Adolescent”

Speaker:
Associate Professor Craig Munns
Margaret Zacharin

Topic:
Material Thyroid Dysfunction: The Effects on Their Babies
...

Documents

Specific Breast Milk Nutrients May Work Together To Influence Cognitive Abilities Of 6-Month-Old Infants

Reviewed the cohort study abstract that specific breast milk nutrients may work together to influence cognitive development and possible mechanisms.

Synergistic Effects Of Human Milk Nutrients In The Support Of Infant Recognition Memory: An Observational Study

Studied relation of human milk lutein, choline and DHA with recognition memory. Nutrients Interactions appear important to predict infant cognition.

Resources

CDC training models-Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns

CDC training models to early care providers on how to monitor children’s development and communicate with their parents. CME credit available.

The PedsQL™ Scoring Algorithm. Scoring The Pediatric Quality Of Life Inventory™

Learning module on the PedsQL™ Generic Core Scales including Physical Functioning, Emotional Functioning, Social Functioning, and School Functioning.