Editor's Summary

30 March 2006

Bright prospects


Here's a subject guaranteed to cause controversy: the relationship between intelligence, measured by IQ tests, and physical brain development in children and adolescents. A study that followed 307 typically developing subjects from childhood to adolescence (roughly between the ages of 6 and 19 years) now suggests that 'brainy' children are not cleverer by virtue of having more or less grey matter at any one age. Rather, intelligence is related to various aspects of the continuing process of cortical maturation. Specifically, the trajectory of change in the thickness of the cerebral cortex, not cortical thickness itself, relates to intelligence. More intelligent children demonstrate a particularly plastic cortex, with an initial accelerated and prolonged phase of cortical increase, which yields to equally vigorous cortical thinning by early adolescence.

News and ViewsX-Ray imaging: Soft focus

Ed Gerstner

doi:10.1038/440619a

LetterIntellectual ability and cortical development in children and adolescents

P. Shaw, D. Greenstein, J. Lerch, L. Clasen, R. Lenroot, N. Gogtay, A. Evans, J. Rapoport and J. Giedd

doi:10.1038/nature04513

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