By Sharlene George
While parents busily prepare for the arrival of their newborn in the final stages of pregnancy, life in the womb also is full of activity. The cerebral cortex in the third trimester is maturing rapidly, establishing the complex neuronal connections needed to navigate a wondrous world. Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia suggest a new noninvasive method based on diffusion kurtosis metrics could be used to map how the microstructure of brain regions develop during early infancy. This 4-D spatiotemporal cytoarchitectural signature could provide effective imaging markers to help scientists better understand typical and atypical brain development and the emergence of certain brain functions.