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FACT # 217

10 Sep

The Developing Brain

Starting from within the womb, fetal brain development begins the amazing journey that leads to a well-developed brain at birth that continues to grow for 18 more years.

  1. Neurons. Neurons develop at the rate of 250,000 neurons per minute during early pregnancy.
  2. Size at birth. At birth, your brain was almost the same size as an adult brain and contained most of the brain cells for your whole life.
  3. Newborn’s growth. A newborn baby’s brain grows about three times its size in the first year.
  4. Stopped growing. Your brain stopped growing at age 18.
  5. Cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex grows thicker as you learn to use it.
  6. Stimulation. A stimulating environment for a child can make the difference between a 25% greater ability to learn or 25% less in an environment with little stimulation.
  7. New neurons. Humans continue to make new neurons throughout life in response to mental activity.
  8. Read aloud. Reading aloud and talking often to a young child promotes brain development.
  9. Emotions. The capacity for such emotions as joy, happiness, fear, and shyness are already developed at birth. The specific type of nurturing a child receives shapes how these emotions are developed.
  10. First sense. The first sense to develop while in utero is the sense of touch. The lips and cheeks can experience touch at about 8 weeks and the rest of the body around 12 weeks.
  11. Bilingual brains. Children who learn two languages before the age of five alters the brain structure and adults have a much denser gray matter.
  12. Child abuse and the brain. Studies have shown that child abuse can inhibit development of the brain and can permanently affect brain development.
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