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Scientific Correspondence
Nature Neuroscience  2, 861 - 863 (1999)
doi:10.1038/13158

Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study

Jay N. Giedd1, Jonathan Blumenthal1, Neal O. Jeffries2, F. X. Castellanos1, Hong Liu1, Alex Zijdenbos3, Tomás caron Paus3, Alan C. Evans3 & Judith L. Rapoport1

1  Child Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Building 10, Room 4C110, 10 Center Drive, MSC 1367, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA

2  Biometry Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, Federal Building, Room 7C06, 7550 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA

3  Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2B4, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to Jay N. Giedd jgiedd@helix.nih.gov
Pediatric neuroimaging studies1, 2, 3, 4, 5, up to now exclusively cross sectional, identify linear decreases in cortical gray matter and increases in white matter across ages 4 to 20. In this large-scale longitudinal pediatric neuroimaging study, we confirmed linear increases in white matter, but demonstrated nonlinear changes in cortical gray matter, with a preadolescent increase followed by a postadolescent decrease. These changes in cortical gray matter were regionally specific, with developmental curves for the frontal and parietal lobe peaking at about age 12 and for the temporal lobe at about age 16, whereas cortical gray matter continued to increase in the occipital lobe through age 20.


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Nature Neuroscience
ISSN: 1097-6256
EISSN: 1546-1726
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