New Tool Shows How a Child's Brain Grows
However, not all experts in the field fully agree with Thompson's interpretation. USC's Mitchell says that changes in brain structure do not necessarily mean there have been changes in the way the brain works. "This [new MRI technique] shows you how things are growing and when, but there is more to it than that. You are seeing the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, but not putting it together yet," she says.
In addition to studies of children with developmental abnormalities, Thompson and coworkers are looking in a completely different direction: Alzheimer's disease. In cooperation with SmithKline Beecham, they are exploring the use of the new MRI technique to measure the effects of new medications on the brain with Alzheimer's disease.