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Baby brain scanning library can help understand how the brain develops



Recent advances in neuroscience can have just as many impacts as an accurate global description of human brain connectivity and its variability. A detailed understanding of this conjunctiva will provide knowledge in critical nerve procedures and various neuropsychiatric disorders.

A series of more than 500 baby brain scans are available online for scientists to study how the brain develops. Scans from the Human Connectivity Development Project (DCP) – a collaborative effort between the College of London, the Royal College of London and the University of Oxford – and can be used by scientists to advance research.

Through this project, scientists want to find out how the wire and the function of the baby's brain develop during pregnancy and after birth.

MRI scans the brains of newborns from the Human Connection Development Project. The series of more than 500 images is the first big data release from the group. The images are shared so scientists from around the world can use the data in their research. (Credit: dHCP)
MRI scans the brains of newborns from the Human Connection Development Project. The series of more than 500 images is the first big data release from the group. The images are shared so scientists from around the world can use the data in their research. (Credit: dHCP)

The images were taken between 24-45 weeks of pregnancy at the newborn baby center of Evelina, based at St Thomas' Hospital, London. Most babies were painted while they were sleeping, with the team adjusting to correct any changes to the images as the babies moved.

Professor Daniel Rueckert, Imperial's lead, on the project said: "The data we get from these scans already help give us an unprecedented insight into the neurological changes in the human brain as they develop."

"We hope that the availability of this data to researchers around the world will speed up research on a range of neurological conditions, which may eventually lead to better detection and treatment at an early age."

The lead researcher, Professor David Edwards of King's College London, said: "The Human Connectivity Development Project is a great breakthrough in understanding human brain development – it provides the most comprehensive map of how the brain's connections have evolved to date and how it goes wrong with diseases."

The project is expected to allow scientists to better understand how conditions such as autism develop and how pregnancy problems can affect brain development.

The research is funded by a 15m-euro Synergy grant from the European Research Council.


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