Skip Navigation LinksHome > April 2014 - Volume 26 - Issue 2 > Neuroimaging is a novel tool to understand the impact of env...
Current Opinion in Pediatrics:
doi: 10.1097/MOP.0000000000000074
THERAPEUTICS AND TOXICOLOGY: Edited by Robert O. Wright

Neuroimaging is a novel tool to understand the impact of environmental chemicals on neurodevelopment

Horton, Megan K.a; Margolis, Amy E.b; Tang, Cheukc; Wright, Roberta

Collapse Box

Abstract

Purpose of review

The prevalence of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders has been increasing over the last several decades. Prenatal and early childhood exposure to environmental toxicants is increasingly recognized as contributing to the growing rate of neurodevelopmental disorders. Very little information is known about the mechanistic processes by which environmental chemicals alter brain development. We review the recent advances in brain imaging modalities and discuss their application in epidemiologic studies of prenatal and early childhood exposure to environmental toxicants.

Recent findings

Neuroimaging techniques (volumetric and functional MRI, diffusor tensor imaging, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy) have opened unprecedented access to study the developing human brain. These techniques are noninvasive and free of ionization radiation making them suitable for research applications in children. Using these techniques, we now understand much about structural and functional patterns in the typically developing brain. This knowledge allows us to investigate how prenatal exposure to environmental toxicants may alter the typical developmental trajectory.

Summary

MRI is a powerful tool that allows in-vivo visualization of brain structure and function. Used in epidemiologic studies of environmental exposure, it offers the promise to causally link exposure with behavioral and cognitive manifestations and ultimately to inform programs to reduce exposure and mitigate adverse effects of exposure.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Login

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.