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J Pediatr. 2003 Oct;143(4 Suppl):S46-53.

Assessing brain development using neurophysiologic and behavioral measures.

Author information

  • Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. thoma114@umn.edu


One critical aspect of pediatric research is the assessment of outcome measures after treatment or intervention. Behavioral measures of physical growth, school achievement, and general intelligence have proven to be important scales for assessing gross developmental outcome and differences between pediatric treatment groups. However, more subtle and sophisticated measures may be required to assess finer grained differences in brain development at the structural and functional levels. Advances in noninvasive brain imaging techniques over the past decade have improved our ability to link specific cognitive functions to changes in brain structure and function in healthy infants and children. This paper highlights some of the ways that electrophysiologic and functional magnetic resonance imaging methods have been combined with behavioral measures of cognitive and emotional function to advance our understanding of brain-behavior relations. Such combined neurophysiologic and behavioral methods may help to identify the role specific interventions have on long-term developmental outcomes in childhood.

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