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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

While key aspects of neural development occur prenatally in humans, the brain continues to show significant development postnatally. In this chapter, we review several aspects of brain development that continue well into childhood and adolescence. First, we discuss the continued sculpting of synaptic connections, including the extension of axons and dendrites, neurotransmitter function, synaptic pruning, and myelination. Second, we examine noninvasive indices of structural brain development, including regional volume and connectivity in the brain that may be more easily linked to changes in child behavior across development. Third, we briefly discuss broad developmental changes in functional activity of the brain and connectivity across regions. Finally, we discuss the evidence for postnatal neurogenesis, a relatively new discovery in postnatal brain development. We conclude that although prenatal events of brain development are critical, postnatal sculpting of the brain continues to play a central role in individual differences in behavior and developmental change.

Keywords: brain development, myelination, neurogenesis, connectivity, MRI, postnatal, prenatal, synaptogenesis, pruning

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