In the latest issue of Science, researchers are saying that quick MRI brain scans may help doctors identify and treat developmental problems in children, and when the scans are taken over time, parents and healthcare providers will have a growth chart of a child’s brain to see if that brain is where it needs to be at that stage of life. According to Dr. Bradley L. Schlaggar, whose study was published in Science, “It’s a way to understand individual differences and make predictions about an individual’s neurologic and psychological health.”
Currently, brain scans are used more for physical brain abnormalities, like detection of tumors, and do not reveal information to discern psychological, neurological, nor developmental health. However, Schlaggar et al. proposes that MRI readings reveal the areas of the brain that are most active based on oxygen consumption in those areas. According to Schlaggar’s team, doctors could study a patient’s brain and see if it has matured to the level it needs to be at for the child’s age. The problem still remains that most developmental therapies and treatments don’t target a specific brain area, such as an under-developed pre-frontal lobe, but with successive scans, it will be possible to determine by deduction of certain treatments are having impact.
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