Dr. Michael Potegal
May 14, 2018

Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To us non-babies, it all sounds like charming, mysterious, gobbleydegook. To researchers, though, babbling is knowable, predictable, and best of all, teachable. This week, we'll find out how to decipher the vocabulary, and the behavior, of the newest members of the human family.

William Iacono and Monica Luciana
April 2, 2018

Addiction to alcohol can begin at any age. In 2013 researchers led by Monica Luciana reported that the brains of adolescents who began drinking developed differently from those who didn’t. Compared to those who refrained, the cerebral cortices of those who began drinking showed greater thinning in some parts and blunted development of white matter in others.

Dr. Jonathan Gewirtz
February 28, 2018

Each year since 1965-66, the University of Minnesota has recognized a select group of faculty members for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate education.  This honor is awarded to exceptional candidates nominated by colleges in their quest to identify excellence in undergraduate education.  In addition to honoring individual faculty members, the award contributes to the improvement of undergraduate education at the University by publicizing their work to serve as a resource for the whole faculty.

Bernadette Gillick
February 23, 2018

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School found non-invasive brain stimulation could be a safe, feasible intervention for improving coordination and motor skills in children with cerebral palsy (CP). It is the first time researchers have ever studied this combined intervention for cerebral palsy.

“We’ve seen how non-invasive brain stimulation can transform lives and produce significant results for people with other neurological conditions with little to no side-effects. We wanted to explore the option for children with cerebral palsy,” said lead author Bernadette Gillick, Ph.D., P.T., assistant professor in the Medical School’s Division of Physical Therapy.  “Our aim is to advance early intervention options to help these children manage their condition, improve their quality of life and thrive.”

Jeff Wozniak
February 22, 2018

A new study finds many more children than previously thought may have disabilities because their mothers drank during pregnancy. In fact, the researchers estimate that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are at least as common as autism.

MPR's Mike Mulcahy talked with Jeff Wozniak and Ruth Richardson about the effects of alcohol exposure on a fetus, what it's like living with the consequences of that exposure, and what the latest research highlights.

Bernadette Gillick
February 13, 2018

Using a mild electrical current to either boost or inhibit the brain’s own electrical impulses may one day help rehabilitate its function, according to researchers funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health.

In a preliminary study of 20 children and youth with cerebral palsy, the researchers found that applying an electrical current to the part of the brain unaffected by the condition resulted in a small, but significant increase in hand function for those retaining neural connections between the injured and non-injured sides of the brain.

Dr. Michael Georgieff
January 25, 2018

"Maternal prenatal nutrition and the child's nutrition in the first 2 years of life (1000 days) are crucial factors in a child’s neurodevelopment and lifelong mental health. Child and adult health risks, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, may be programmed by nutritional status during this period...Prioritizing public policies that ensure the provision of adequate nutrients and healthy eating during this crucial time would ensure that all children have an early foundation for optimal neurodevelopment, a key factor in long-term health."

Media Coverage: TIME, CBS, MedPageToday, Deseret News

Dr. Monica Luciana
January 3, 2018

Chya* (pronounced SHY-a), who is not quite 10 years old, recently spent an unusual day at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Part of the time she was in a "cool" brain scanner while playing video games designed to test her memory and other brain-related skills. At other points, she answered lots of questions about her life and health on an iPad.

A slender Baltimore third grader who likes drawing, hip hop, and playing with her pet Chihuahua, Chya is one of more than 6800 children now enrolled in an unprecedented examination of teenage brain development. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study—or ABCD Study—will complete its 2-year enrollment period in September, and this month will release a trove of data from 4500 early participants into a freely accessible, anonymized database. Ultimately, the study aims to follow 10,000 children for a decade as they grow from 9- and 10-year-olds into young adults.