Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain structure, function predict future memory performance in children, adolescents

Date:
January 28, 2014
Source:
Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
Summary:
Assessing structural and functional changes in the brain may predict future memory performance in healthy children and adolescents, according to a new study. The findings shed new light on cognitive development and suggest MRI and other tools may one day help identify children at risk for developmental challenges earlier than current testing methods allow.

Assessing structural and functional changes in the brain may predict future memory performance in healthy children and adolescents, according to a new study. Working memory capacity -- the ability to hold onto information for a short period of time -- is one of the strongest predictors of future achievements in math and reading.
Credit: © rimmdream / Fotolia

Assessing structural and functional changes in the brain may predict future memory performance in healthy children and adolescents, according to a study appearing January 29 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings shed new light on cognitive development and suggest MRI and other tools may one day help identify children at risk for developmental challenges earlier than current testing methods allow.

Related Articles


Working memory capacity -- the ability to hold onto information for a short period of time -- is one of the strongest predictors of future achievements in math and reading. While previous studies showed that MRI could predict current working memory performance in children, scientists were unsure if MRI could predict their future cognitive capacity.

In the current study, Henrik Ullman, Rita Almeida, PhD, and Torkel Klingberg, MD, PhD, at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden evaluated the cognitive abilities of a group of healthy children and adolescents and measured each child's brain structure and function using MRI. Based on the MRI data collected during this initial testing, the researchers found they could predict the children's working memory performance two years later, a prediction that was not possible using the cognitive tests.

"Our results suggest that future cognitive development can be predicted from anatomical and functional information offered by MRI above and beyond that currently achieved by cognitive tests," said Ullman, the lead author of the study. "This has wide implications for understanding the neural mechanisms of cognitive development."

The scientists recruited 62 children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 20 years to the lab, where they completed working memory and reasoning tests. They also received multiple MRI scans to assess brain structure and changes in brain activity as they performed a working memory task. Two years later, the group returned to the lab to perform the same cognitive tests.

Using a statistical model, the researchers evaluated whether MRI data obtained during the initial tests correlated with the children's working memory performance during the follow-up visit. They found that while brain activity in the frontal cortex correlated with children's working memory at the time of the initial tests, activity in the basal ganglia and thalamus predicted how well children scored on the working memory tests two years later.

"This study is another contribution to the growing body of neuroimaging research that yields insights into unraveling present and predicting future cognitive capacity in development," said Judy Illes, PhD, a neuroethicist at the University of British Columbia. "However, the appreciation of this important new knowledge is simpler than its application to everyday life. How a child performs today and tomorrow relies on multiple positive and negative life events that cannot be assessed by today's technology alone."

This research was funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and The Swedish Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Neuroscience (SfN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Henrik Ullman, Rita Almeida, and Torkel Klingberg. Structural Maturation and Brain Activity Predict Future Working Memory Capacity during Childhood Development. Journal of Neuroscience, January 29, 2014 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0842-13.2014

Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience (SfN). "Brain structure, function predict future memory performance in children, adolescents." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128184726.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience (SfN). (2014, January 28). Brain structure, function predict future memory performance in children, adolescents. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128184726.htm
Society for Neuroscience (SfN). "Brain structure, function predict future memory performance in children, adolescents." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128184726.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins