Shaping the Developing Brain:
Prenatal through Early Childhood
2014 Aspen Brain Forum Press Release
The future success of a child is crucially dependent upon the earliest stages of brain development, during pregnancy and infancy. Scientific research from multiple academic and medical disciplines has shown that the changes that take place during this early period of brain development can profoundly shape the rest of a child's life, and affect long-term health, well-being, and cognitive ability.
As a child grows — from inside the womb through the first few years of life — massive changes take place in the connectivity and plasticity of the brain. Deepening our understanding of the connection between a child’s early behavioral milestones and their brain’s structural and neural development is a critical first step for promoting healthy brain development, as well as improving treatments for developmental and learning disorders. Additionally, functional or dysfunctional social and family relationships, socioeconomic status/poverty, stress, nutrition, and other environmental experiences produce lasting effects on the brain and impact how children will respond to adversity, how they will interact with their peers, and whether they will succeed in school and throughout their lives.
This 2.5-day conference will convene leading researchers with expertise in the fundamental stages of early brain development, and will focus on the connection between research and improved outcomes for children. Conference speakers will present the latest discoveries from cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology regarding typical and atypical development of human learning and memory, emotion, and social behavior in the first few years of life. They will also explore socioeconomic, family, and nutritional factors that can affect brain and behavior. The conference will highlight educational practices, health and nutrition practices, applied research, and government policy with the potential for enhancing healthy brain development and improving outcomes for at-risk children.
This conference will feature a dedicated session: Spotlight on Nutrition and Brain Development, co-presented with The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science, a program of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Aspen Brain Forum