Brain And Intelligence Development In Children
Development Of Infant
Headache In Children
Epilepsy In Children
• Benal ÇUBUK, MD
BRAIN AND INTELLIGENCE DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN
There is a very close relation between intelligence and brain. It is accepted that intelligence is in the brain.
3 significant periods for the development of intelligence
Pre- birth (Genetic, mental health and nutrition of the mother are significant factors.
Birth (Realization of a healthy labor, problems during the labor-oxygen starved, falling down are effective
Post-birth (Good postpartum period for the mother, breastfeeding, love, care and love of the father are significant factors.
Intelligence develops in the first 10 years of the life. The fastest development occurs in the first 2 years. Human behaviour of whom consists of a few reflex at the beginning becomes a person walking himself, speaking, solving some simple problems, establishing cause and effect relation, making simple plans, remembering in the end of 2 years. Thinking with symbols starts at the age of 11. Even if the rate reduces after the age of 12, development continues. The top level of development occurs between the ages of 14-18. Mental power remains at this level till the age of 30. Success in learning new things begins to reduce slowly in the next ages however, knowledge learnt doesn’t get lost on the contrary as the age proceeds, skill of using the knowledge increases owing to the experience.
Brain cells of the infant develop in mother’s womb
Brain cells of the infant start to develop as of the first week 3 of the pregnancy and increases faster than all other cells. Development of physical structure and connection points of the brain begins in this period and advances in a complex genetic order. Every infant is born with approximately 100 billion of neurons in charge of vital brain functions like hearing, thinking, seeing, speaking, moving. In the next periods of the life, these congenital 100 billion of neurons are replaced with the new ones.
Neurons are connected to each other with small gaps called as synapse and form the clusters performing various functions of the brain. These points of contact are the units where the electrical messages necessary for the function of the brain are transmitted. The first brain cells begin to form 4 weeks after the pregnancy in rate as 250,000 pcs per minute, billions of neurons connect with billions of other cells and trillions of connections are formed, every connection is organized carefully and random or coincident thing never occurs. There are neurons 166 times more the world population in the head of infant. Approximately 1000 trillions of synapse is formed in neurons for 8 months after the birth. It begins to store some memories at about week 30 of the pregnancy and can recognize the voice of mother after birth.
The first condition for the brain development of the baby is love and care
Brain constitutes one-fourth of total weight of the baby in birth. The number of contacts between the brain cells may increase or decrease at the rate of 25% depending on the environmental conditions and stimulus, the more the number of contact is, the more chance it will have. These contacts forming in the first months of life are reinforced with external stimulus and become permanent. The sources of these stimuli are mother-father, kin and persons helping for care. Children are emotional in their relations, if you approach to the baby and child with love, they will learn the love. Smile at your baby, touch, speak to it, sing a song, hug frequently. Brain of the babies neglected can’t complete the development in all regions.
Factors affecting brain and nerve system development of your baby are genetic-inherited, environmental factors, nutrition and proper environmental conditions. The period when the brain growth is the fastest and inclined to the harmful effects is the period in the mother’s womb. Having healthy pregnancy is the first step of giving birth to a healthy baby. Proper nutrition in pregnancy is very significant. Diseases, medicines used during pregnancy, chemical toxins-heavy metals (zinc-mercury,etc.), being exposed to some harmful environmental factors such as radiation, preterm delivery, delivery under unhealthy conditions, hard labor, cerebral hemorrhage during and after the delivery, non-availability of oxygen for the brain may result in retardation of developmental steps and physical and mental disabilities for the children.
Delivery under healthy conditions especially at the hospital is very significant. Especially genetic and metabolic diseases seen in kin marriages affect the brain and nerve system adversely. In societies that kin marriage is high, (this rate varies by the region in our country but it is about 21.7% to 23%) rate of these diseases is high.
The most significant second period is the first 18 months after the birth. Especially breastfeeding for the first 6 months is very important for brain and nerve system development and healthy mother-baby relation. While contacts operated, used in the brain gets strong, the ones not used become smaller and for this reason, every person caring baby and infants has permanent effect on brain development. The period between the ages of 1-3 is very significant, it is the period that babies have the skills making them free like walking and speaking. The child gains the social personality, he is autonomous and free wants whatever he desires, imitates everything, however this period is the period that personality develops, social manners that will affect the future life can be acquired and right and wrong is taught. The ability of learning reaches to the top level in the ages of 3-10. During this process, environment, socio-economic life conditions, nutrition are important. Under-nourishment, nourishment poor of protein, consuming chemical product have adverse effects on development of intelligence. Fabrication food and food with high sugar and fat content have harmful effects on the development of intelligence.