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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1994 Feb;4(1):120-3.

Neural activity and the development of the somatic sensory system.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


Present thinking about the role of neural activity in the developing brain is based largely upon observations in the visual system. Attempts to generalize these findings in the somatic sensory system, however, have yielded perplexing results. Unlike the visual system, recent evidence suggests that activity plays a relatively minor role in establishing structural patterns in the primary somatic sensory cortex. Activity levels in the primary somatic sensory cortex are nonetheless highest in those regions that grow most during postnatal development, implying that activity promotes differential cortical growth.

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