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Do Spatial Constraints on Oxygen Flow Drive Neural Specialisation in the First Year of Life?

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Over the first three years of life, a growing body of evidence suggests that neural specialisation is driven by inter-regional competition (Johnson, 2011). But what resource limitations drive this competition? Possibly, increases in access to oxygenated blood cannot occur simultaneously across all brain regions. This may limit the timing with which brain areas can be ‘activated’ by a given stimulus, driving the emergence of spatial specialisation. Testing this model requires simultaneous measurement of brain activity and oxygen utilisation in awake infants. This project will address this question using our new combined NIRS cytochrome-EEG recording system for awake infants and toddlers.

Disciplines and Techniques
Project supervisor/s
Professor Emliy Jones
Emily's research interests centre on understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms that drive variability in the developmental trajectories of young children.
Birkbeck University of London
Professor Clare Elwell
rClare's recent project is the use of near infrared spectroscopy to investigate malnutrition related brain development in rural Gambia, resulting in the first functional brain imaging of infants in Africa
University College London
References
A model of brain circulation and metabolism: NIRS signal changes during physiological challenges
Banaji M, Mallet A, Elwell CE, Nicholls P, Cooper CE
PLoS Comput Biol. Nov;4(11):e1000212. PMID: 18989392
2008
Functional EEG connectivity in infants associates with later restricted and repetitive behaviours in autism; a replication study
Haartsen, R., Jones, E. J., Orekhova, E. V., Charman, T., & Johnson, M. H.
Translational psychiatry, 9(1), 66
2019
Interactive specialization: a domain-general framework for human functional brain development?
Johnson, M. H.
Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 1(1), 7-21
2011
Systematic investigation of changes in oxidized cerebral cytochrome c oxidase concentration during frontal lobe activation in healthy adults
Kolyva C, Tachtsidis I, Ghosh A, Moroz T, Cooper C, Smith M, Elwell CE,
Biomed Opt Express. Oct 1;3(10):255
2012
Non-invasive measurement of a metabolic marker of infant brain function
Siddiqui MF, Lloyd-Fox S, Kaynezhad P, Tachtsidis I, Johnson MH, Elwell CE.
Sci Rep. 2017 May 2;7(1):1330. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-01394-z.
2017