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DCNU in the News December 2013

Sunday 8 December 2013 More...




Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Journal July


Latest Quarterly Journal of:
Developmental
Cognitive Neuroscience

(Volume 7: January 2014)

2012 Impact Factor: 3.160

Hypoxia/Ischaemia MRC Project:

Hypoxia/Ischaemia and Patterns of Neuropathology associated with Memory Impairment: 

From Infancy through Adolescence

MRC Logo


Funding Body:

Medical Research Council


Type of Study: Programme

Principal Investigator:

Professor Faraneh Vargha-Khadem, FMedSci (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Child Health and Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, Great Ormond Street Hospital)

Co-Principal Investigators (listed alphabetically):

Dr Torsten Baldeweg (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)


Dr Chris Clark (Imaging and Biophysics Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)


Dr Michelle de-Haan (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)


Professor John Deanfield (Cardiac Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health and Cardiothoracic Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital)


Professor David Gadian, FMedSci (Imaging and Biophysics Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health)


Dr Allan Goldman (Paediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)


Professor Andrew Taylor (Cardiovascular Imaging, UCL and Cardiothoracic Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital)

Collaborators (listed alphabetically):

Professor Neil Burgess, FMedSci (UCL Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience and UCL Institute of Neurology)


Dr Kling Chong (Department of Radiology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)


Dr Jonathan Clayden (Neuroimaging & Biophysics, UCL Institute of Child Health)


Professor J Helen Cross (Neurosciences Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health & Honorary Consultant Paediatric Neurology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)


Professor Emrah Duzel (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience)


Dr Alessandro Giardini (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)


Dr Roxanna Gunny (Radiology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)


Dr Aparna Hoskote (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)


Professor Eleanor Maguire, FMedSci
(Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology)


Professor Neil Marlow (Institute of Women s Health, University College London)


Professor Mortimer Mishkin (National Institutes of Health Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health, USA)


Dr Monica Munoz-Lopez (Human Neuroanatomy Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)


Dr Nikki Robertson (Institute for Women s Health, University College London)


Dr Timothy T Rogers (Department of Psychology, Knowledge & Concepts Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)

Summary of Project:

Memory is a critical ability in the everyday lives of children, allowing them to establish a base of knowledge about the world and remember the events of everyday life and so learn from personal experiences. Certain medical conditions that affect the heart and/or the lungs can interfere with the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain, and result in injury to the hippocampus, a memory-related structure. Our past research showed that up to 30% of children who survived such conditions and were otherwise developing normally still had significant memory impairments. In our current research programme, we aim to study infants with these medical conditions, with the goal of providing information that will allow the early identification of those at risk for hippocampal injury and memory impairment so that treatments can be implemented as early as possible. We will enrol newly born babies into our study and follow their development at specific time points over a two year period, examining their behaviour and getting images of their brains to evaluate possible injury to the hippocampus. We will also determine whether other areas of the brain are damaged, and, in those cases where the injury is limited to the hippocampus, we will find out how this affects the pattern of communication between other brain areas. We will also use specific memory tasks that are sensitive to the functions of the hippocampus so that we can determine when memory impairments, if they occur at all, first become evident, and assess the degree of the deficit. We will use medical information to see whether this provides any early clues to which children will be affected and to what degree. A second part of our research plan is to study older children who have had particular heart or breathing problems at an early age. This part of our work builds on our previous studies which showed that children with medical conditions affecting the supply of blood and oxygen to their brains as infants had a high rate of memory difficulties. This work also indicated that whereas certain aspects of memory were affected, others remained relatively normal. We will investigate in more detail the pattern of affected and unaffected memory abilities and their brain basis. We hope that this work will give a better overall understanding of the brain basis of memory development and will also lead to early diagnosis of the problems which can be used by health care and educational professionals to develop prevention and treatment strategies for memory impairment.