Newborn brain has to learn how to feed itself

June 22, 2016

The brain cells need some food, says the neuroscience. The recent researches of Columbia University showed that busy nerve cells in the brain are hungry and beckon oxygen-rich blood to replenish themselves. However, a newborn brain has to learn how to feed itself. According to Elizabeth Hillman, neurobiologist and co-author of the research, active nerve cells in newborn mouse brains yet don’t know how to make their first ‘food request’. An article about feeding the brain cells published in Journal of Neuroscience.

The scientists used data from fMRI studies of young children and their brains, which showed that their brains don’t always follow rule of making the ‘food for brain cells request’. As study co-author Elizabeth Hillman of Columbia University said: “The newborn brain is doing something weird.”

During an experiment on mice’s brain, scientists tried to find an answer — how the newborn brain feeds itself? There was an obvious difference in the brain responding and in neural activity prompted an influx of blood: 7-day-old mice, 13-day-old mice and an adult one. That meant mouse brains lack the ability to send blood to busy neurons, a skill that influences how the brain operates. Elizabeth Hillman said that blood flow info might not be a good proxy for neural activity in newborns, but “it may well be measuring a change that is very important to normal brain development.”