Nourishing the brain: Enhancing Brain Myelination and Cognition in Children via Early Nutrition

Date:  Friday, May 31, 2024
Time: 1:00-2:00pm ET


Speaker: Sean Deoni, PhD (Brown University)  Director, Advanced Baby Imaging Lab, Departments of Pediatrics and Radiology, Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University

Webinar description:

The first 1000 days is a dynamic period of brain growth and cognitive development. Throughout this period, the brain rapidly increases in volume by unto 300%, driven by changes in the underlying microstructure including neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and myelination. These changes, in turn, underlie the dramatic cognitive and behavioral development also seen across infancy and early childhood. These changes in brain structure are influenced by a complex cascade of genetic and environmental factors, and rely on the carefully timed deli very of key nutrients, including long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, phospholipids, as well as key vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. In this talk, we will discuss non-invasive methods for investigating early neurodevelopment and relationships between measures of myelination and cognitive development. Further, we will explore the importance of early nutrition, and the ability to modulate neurodevelopment through improved nutrition, as evidenced through large-scale observational and more recent clinical RCT studies.

Learning Objectives:


1. Understand the importance of the first 1000 days life in shaping brain development and later cognitive outcomes
2. Appreciate the relationships between evolving brain structure and cognitive skills
3. Understand the role of specific nutrients, specifically LC-PUFAs, gangliosides, phospholipids and others on early brain development.


Moderator: Rajavel Elango, PhD (University of British Columbia) 

About the Speaker:

Sean received his PhD in Physics and BioPhysics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada followed by post-doctoral fellowships at King’s College London and Oxford University, UK. Moving to Brown University in 2009 he started the Advanced Baby Imaging Lab with the goal of understanding how a child’s development is shaped by their environment. This work has expanded to include studies not just in the US, but across Africa, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.


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