Brain Development

Embryo 54 Day Old Central Nervous System : Computer Generated Image from Micro-MRI, actual size of embryo = 26.0 mm - This image provides a dorsal view of the embryo during its eighth week of development. The age is calculated from the day of fertilization. The image has been manipulated so that the skin appears translucent. The primary focus of this image is the central nervous system. The two main organs that comprise this system are the brain and spinal cord which are highlighted in orange. The three main components of the brain can be observed. The largest portion in the front of the head is called the forebrain, the narrow middle segment is called the midbrain, and the hindbrain is the portion that connects the midbrain with the spinal cord. The nerve endings surrounding the spinal cord are indicated in white.

Neural development refers to the processes that generate, shape, and reshape the nervous system, from the earliest stages of embryogenesis to the final years of life. The study of neural development aims to describe the cellular basis of brain development and to address the underlying mechanisms. The field draws on both neuroscience and developmental biology to provide insight into the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which complex nervous systems develop. Defects in neural development can lead to cognitive and motor impairment, as well as neurological disorders such as autism, Rett syndrome, and intellectual disability.

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