A new discovery can save children with anomalous brain development
TSU neurobiologists are studying congenital brain anomalies in the human prenatal and postnatal periods. While studying agenesis of the corpus callosum (complete or partial absence of the structure that connects the two hemispheres of the brain), the scientists discovered that its functions can be compensated for by other brain structures. The child’s cognitive abilities remain intact. This new data can drastically change clinical practice and reduce the number of pregnancy terminations. The project is supported by the Russian Science Foundation.
The scientists used myelin mapping technology, a unique non-invasive technology created by neurobiologists at TSU. Myelin is a substance that surrounds nerve cell axons, and the amount of it is an important criterion in assessing the child’s or fetus’s brain development. TSU scientists and specialists from the International Tomography Center, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (ITC SB RAS, Novosibirsk) are studying the earliest stages of myelin formation during the prenatal development.
“We chose corpus callosum for this study because anomalies in its development are frequent,” explains Aleksandra Korostyshevskaya, senior researcher, chief of the Medical Diagnostics Department of ITC SB RAS, Doctor of Medical Science. “Anomalies of midline brain structures make up 47% of all brain development pathologies, and of all of them 40% are connected with underdevelopment (agenesis) of the corpus callosum. It is hard to say what life has in store for these children. Doctors and parents face a difficult choice: to risk giving birth to an intellectually disabled child or to terminate pregnancy.”