Friday, February 22, 2013

First MRI movies capture fetal brain connecting up

Sandrine Ceurstemont, editor, New Scientist TV

It's the sequel to fertilisation: the brains of unborn babies have now been imaged in action, showing how connections form.

This fMRI movie, produced by Moriah Thomason from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, shows a fly-through of several fetuses in their third trimester. By comparing the scans at slightly different stages of development, Thomason was able to pinpoint when different parts of the brain wire up. "The connection strength increases with fetal age," writes Thomason.

By identifying how brain connectivity normally develops, the scans could help diagnose and treat conditions like schizophrenia and autism before birth. For more on this research, read our full-length news story, "First snaps made of fetal brains wiring themselves up".

If you enjoyed this post, watch a baby's birth captured in an MRI machine for the first time or see the first video MRI of unborn twins.

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