Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 349–361 | Cite as

Anatomic Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Developing Child and Adolescent Brain and Effects of Genetic Variation

  • Jay N. Giedd
  • Michael Stockman
  • Catherine Weddle
  • Maria Liverpool
  • Aaron Alexander-Bloch
  • Gregory L. Wallace
  • Nancy R. Lee
  • Francois Lalonde
  • Rhoshel K. Lenroot


Magnetic resonance imaging studies have begun to map effects of genetic variation on trajectories of brain development. Longitudinal studies of children and adolescents demonstrate a general pattern of childhood peaks of gray matter followed by adolescent declines, functional and structural increases in connectivity and integrative processing, and a changing balance between limbic/subcortical and frontal lobe functions, which extends well into young adulthood. Twin studies have demonstrated that genetic factors are responsible for a significant amount of variation in pediatric brain morphometry. Longitudinal studies have shown specific genetic polymorphisms affect rates of cortical changes associated with maturation. Although over-interpretation and premature application of neuroimaging findings for diagnostic purposes remains a risk, converging data from multiple imaging modalities is beginning to elucidate the influences of genetic factors on brain development and implications of maturational changes for cognition, emotion, and behavior.


Magnetic resonance imaging Brain Development Genes Twins 



This research was supported by the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay N. Giedd
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael Stockman
    • 1
  • Catherine Weddle
    • 1
  • Maria Liverpool
    • 1
  • Aaron Alexander-Bloch
    • 1
  • Gregory L. Wallace
    • 1
  • Nancy R. Lee
    • 1
  • Francois Lalonde
    • 1
  • Rhoshel K. Lenroot
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Child Psychiatry BranchNational Institutes of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research AustraliaSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Brain Imaging Unit Child Psychiatry BranchNIMHBethesdaMDUSA

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