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Lecture 4

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Child and Youth Studies
Lauren Mc Namara

CHYS 2P10- Lecture 4: Chapter 6 Physical Development: Brain, Body, Motor Skill October 2 2012 Rapid growth in first 2 years: - The brain is growing the fastest between birth and the age two. If we grew at this rate forever we would be 4 meters tall and 3 tons by the age of 18. General Growth Trends: - Changes in Body proportions- Cephalocaudal – physical development. From head to tail, hence the reproductive system grows last. - What parts of the body are the first to reach true adult size? – Hands and feet are the first things to finish fully growing. - In the last few years we have seen how much environment affects brain development. After 40 days the spinal chord starts to develop and the brain and the spinal chord make up the human nervous system Human Nervous System - Nervous system = more than a trillion specialized cells o Cells that work together to transmit electrical and chemical signal throughout the body - Neurons = specialized cells that transmit electrical signals/ impulses throughout the body – example when you touch a hot stove the signal sent to your brain to tell it to take your hand off/ its hot is extremely quick Brain Development - Proceeds in overlapping steps: o 1.Make brain cells via cell division (mitosis) o 2.Get the cells to where they need to be (migration)  Info from genes  according to function they will serve (memory, attention, auditory) o 3.Grow axons, dendrites – the connection between each cell where the messengers communicate.  (connectors to other nerve cells) o 4.Develop synapses/synaptogenesis (points of communication with other cells)- o 5.Refine synapses (maturation, pruning)- enhancing the communication among the nerve cells o 6.Form supportive tissue/myelination (supports effective communication among nerve cells) – experience dependent. Complex environment is extremely important for young children. This is why full day kindergarten is being enforced. - A basic neuron is made of a cell body (which contains the nucleus), dendrites and a long axon. Myelin sheaths wrap around the axon Two neurons forming a synapse: - Transmit information via synapses- connections - Called: synaptogenesis Synaptogenesis - Axons, dendrites form connections or synapses - Connections allow nerve cells to communicate with each other - Starts prenatally and extends well into childhood years - Stability, strength of synapses depend on effective communication of connections - Effectiveness determined by speed that neurons conduct nerve impulses - Speed is determined by amount of myelin o A fatty substance that wraps itself around nerve axons o Insulates axon and increases conduction velocity- just like an electrical wire. Speed makes a connection more effective - Amount of myelin determined by environment and experience - A
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