Shaping the Developing Brain: Prenatal through Early Childhood
Fifth Annual Aspen Brain Forum
November 11 – 13, 2014
The New York Academy of Sciences
0. Keynote Address
Thomas R. Insel, MD, National Institute of Mental Health
I. Neural Development
I.1 Sensitive Periods in Brain Development
Takao Hensch, PhD, Harvard University
I.2 Structural and Molecular Changes in the Developing Brain
Ed Lein, PhD, Allen Institute for Brain Science
I.3 New Tools to Investigate Brain Development
II. Cognitive Development
II.1 Language Development
Patricia Kuhl, PhD, University of Washington
II.2 Early Attachment, Emotional Development and Differential Susceptibility to Environmental Influences
Jay Belsky, PhD, University of California, Davis
II.3 Social Learning and Development
Andrew Meltzoff, PhD, University of Washington
III. Social and Environmental Influences on Brain Development
Moderator: Catherine Monk, PhD, Columbia University
III.1 Effects of a Stressful Environment on the Developing Brain and Behavior: Prenatal through Early Life
Tracy L. Bale, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
III.2 Role of Early Experience in Neuro-Affective Development
Nim Tottenham, PhD, UCLA
III.3 Impact of Poverty on the Developing Brain
Martha Farah, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
III.4 Can We Apply the Basic Principles of How Stress Affects Development to More Complex Childhood Psychopathologies?
Charles Nelson, PhD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard University
IV. Spotlight on Nutrition and Brain Development
This session is co-presented with The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences
Moderator: Mandana Arabi, MD, PhD, The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science
IV.1 An Overview on Nutritional Status and Brain Development: The Importance of Timing in Determining the Right Intervention and Brain Assessment
Michael Georgieff, MD, University of Minnesota
IV.2 Standardizing Growth and Nutritional Status Biomarkers And The Tools To Assess Their Effects On Early Childhood Development
Edward Frongillo, PhD, University of South Carolina
IV.3 The Role of Micronutrients in Brain Development: The Most Useful Biomarkers that Relate to Optimal Childhood Development
Maureen M. Black, PhD, University of Maryland
IV.4 Iron Deficiency and the Developing Brain: a Paradigm for Interdisciplinary Approaches to Nutritional Neuroscience
Betsy Lozoff, MD, University of Michigan
V. Translating Research into Intervention, Education, and Policy
Moderator: Susan Magsamen, MS Johns Hopkins University
V.1 Leveraging Science to Improve Early Childhood Developmental Intervention
Joseph Piven, MD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
V.2 Minding the Baby, an Intervention to Improve Early Childhood Development Outcomes in At-Risk Mothers and Infants
Linda C. Mayes, MD, Yale School of Medicine
V.3 Intervention to Help Close the Word Gap
Dana Suskind, MD, University of Chicago, 30 Million Words Initiative
Named for a landmark study that found that children born into poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age three than more affluent children, Thirty Million Words Initiative (TMW) develops evidence-based interventions designed to impact this ‘word gap’ by targeting parental/caregiver knowledge, beliefs and language behavior at a population level.
The goal is to map our research-based interventions onto existing infrastructure nationally.
Grounded in behavior change theory, TMW’s flagship multimedia curriculum, TMW-Home Visiting, gives caregivers strategies that can strengthen children’s cognitive development using the TMW 3Ts: Tune In and respond to what children communicate; Talk More and build child vocabulary through descriptive language; and Take Turns to engage children in conversation and foster curiosity and knowledge.
TMW does not require changes to cultural practices or idiomatic speech, but rather focuses on enhancing adult-child interactions to positively impact development.
TMW has a dual-generation approach and works through three tiers of intervention.
Individual interventions focus on reaching parents and caregivers in economically disadvantaged communities. Community-based interventions targeted neighborhoods and populations through community-based, civic, cultural, religious, health and education organizations, and professional networks that provide care to children from 0-3 years of age. Population-level intervention shapes public awareness via education, public health, and information infrastructures as engines for outreach.
This presentation describes our iterative developmental approach to evidence-based interventions and presents early findings demonstrating the promise of a parent/caregiver approach to impacting the ‘word gap.’
V.4 Building Early Childhood Learning Systems: Early Head Start to the Classroom
Sharon Lynn Kagan, EdD, Teachers College, Columbia University
VI. How to Shape Policy to Address Different Critical Periods and Multiple Adversities
Moderator: Pia Britto, PhD, UNICEF
A study done in 1995 indicated that children from higher-income families heard 30 million more words at home by the age of 4 than children from low-income homes. This has become known as the 30 million-word gap.
Oct 28, 2012
Poverty and the Developing Brain: Insights from Neuroimaging
Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University
Synesis 2013; 4: G40-46
Family income, parental education and brain structure in children and adolescents
Improving early child development with words
Nature Neuroscience (March 30, 2015)
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
5 connections that will change children’s lives
Laura Jana, MD
How does income affect childhood brain development?
Apr 18, 2019
Neuroscientist and pediatrician Kimberly Noble is leading the Baby’s First Years study: the first-ever randomized study of how family income changes children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development.