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By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 13, 2010 

Physicians may have a new tool to assess and diagnose psychological and developmental disorders as researchers believe a new MRI scanner protocol can show the maturity of a child’s brain.

Washington University School of Medicine researchers believe their study proves brain imaging data that can offer extensive help in tracking aberrant brain development.

“Pediatricians regularly plot where their patients are in terms of height, weight and other measures, and then match these up to standardized curves that track typical developmental pathways,” says senior author Bradley Schlaggar, MD, PhD.

“When the patient deviates too strongly from the standardized ranges or veers suddenly from one developmental path to another, the physician knows there’s a need to start asking why.”

Schlaggar and his colleagues say a new way of looking at brain scanning data may be able to provide similar guidance for monitoring and treating of patients with psychiatric and developmental disorders.

Schlaggar says he has sent children with obvious, profound psychiatric conditions for MRI scans and received results marked “no abnormalities noted.”

“That’s typically looking at the data from a structural point of view—what’s different about the shapes of various brain regions,” he says.

“But MRI also offers ways to analyze how different parts of the brain work together functionally.”

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/09/13/how-mature-is-your-childs-brain/18075.html



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