The UCI Healthy Infant Brain and Body Study
This research project will help identify new MRI-based measures of brain circuitry in the human newborn related to future obesity-risk. There will be two research visits conducted in N=60 research participants. The first visit will occur shortly after birth, and the second will be at six-months of age. The importance of studying the newborn is that at this timepoint the infant has been fully exposed to its prenatal environment, but has not yet been exposed to the postnatal environment. At each visit we will collect data measuring bodyfat and MRI-based brain measures that relate to the shape and functioning of the human brain during natural sleep. We will test the hypothesis that brain measures at birth are related to the amount of bodyfat gained in the first six-months of life. We will also test the complimentary hypothesis that bodyfat at birth, and the amount of bodyfat gained in the first six-months of life, are related to changes in brain development across the first six-months of life. By identifying the role of the brain in early life growth, findings provided by this project will ultimately provide the basis for the development of strategies aimed at the primary prevention of childhood obesity.