A Closer Look Inside Infants' Brains Reveals Shocking Results
MRI’s play an important role in what we do at Carlsbad Open MRI, but they also have an important job in the medical world. Researchers have been utilizing MRI scans to gain an inside look into the brain of children and babies. Neuroscientists at MIT have modified a scanner perfectly for infants and the results from their studies have helped the scientists gain a better understanding of how their mind is built.
This new study began as scientists began to question if the brain began as a blank state or is equipped with a basic understanding of the world from the beginning. While many parents and scientists wonder what is occurring in a baby’s brain, studies in the past have been unsuccessful considering that babies are usually moving bundles of energy unless they’re asleep. The only successful studies in the past have primarily focused on sounds and sleeping infants, but Dr. Rebecca Saxe had her mind set on truly understanding how babies see the world.
A Baby Friendly MRI Scanner
To assist in creating an MRI scanner to satisfy the needs of babies, researchers began by setting up a reclining seat similar to a car seat for comfort and a mirror that allows them to watch videos. In the machine, there is a place where researchers and parents can sit with their babies during the scan. While keeping a baby still for more than 2-3 minutes is difficult, these modifications allowed this study to reveal pertinent information. To accommodate the children, researchers chose a scanner that made less noise than a traditional MRI scanner.
How Babies Actually See The World
The study showed that infants do have similar brain organization as adults. The brain’s visual cortex, the area of the brain responsible for responses to various types of input, has proven to be similar in both babies and adults.
There were 17 babies tested, ranging from 4-6 months old. After watching videos, the infants’ brains were analyzed and compared to the responses of adults’ brains. The study showed distinctive preferences in the videos that the babies viewed base on the content they saw. By comparing the two, the researchers found that the responses between babies and adults were strikingly similar.
As their studies continue, this team of neurologists hopes to uncover how these responses vary in a broader age range in babies. So far, their research has answered the question of “how does the brain develop into adulthood and how did it start out”.
We will continue to follow the research done by Saxe and her team using MRI imaging technology.