Early signs of mental illness in the developing brain
Like a fingerprint, the connections of the human brain render us distinct from one another. In a study just published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers at NORMENT revealed that such a unique, fingerprint-like pattern evolves during development and is sensitive to mental health.
Illustration: Tobias Kaufmann
The researchers analyzed brain imaging data from a large number of children and adolescents and report that there is a developmental delay in the individualization of brain connections in individuals with early symptoms of mental illness. These novel findings suggest that such brain network maturation during the course of childhood and adolescence reflects an important aspect of healthy brain development, and reveal the detrimental paths that brain plasticity can take during adolescence.
The study is also discussed on the Schizophrenia Research Forum
Kaufmann T, Alnæs D, Doan NT, Brandt CL, Andreassen OA, Westlye LT (2017), Delayed stabilization and individualization in connectome development are related to psychiatric disorders, Nature Neuroscience, doi:10.1038/nn.4511