The evolution of the brain traced over a lifetime


The analysis of more than 120,000 MRIs made it possible to draw the first growth curves for this organ.

What does a normally developing brain look like? It took no less than 120,000 MRIs and 2 million computer hours for the team of Briton Richard Bethlehem (University of Cambridge), accompanied by many other international researchers including several French, to answer the question. This unpublished work, presented on Wednesday in Nature makes it possible to have for the first time reference curves on the growth of a healthy brain, from the fetus of 15 weeks up to 100 years of adulthood.

Volume of gray matter, white matter, ventricular volume, cortical surface and thickness…: this colossal work makes it possible to have references on the non-pathological evolution of the different components of the brain, for each of the two sexes. A bit like the curves of height, weight and cranial circumference used in pediatrics for two centuries, to ensure that a child is developing normally.

The analysis of the tens of thousands of MRIs provided…

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