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Finding Merlin by Kate Cowie

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III. The development of the brain through the life cycle.

imageost of the brain’s one hundred billion neurons are formed and then migrate to their assigned positions during embryonic and early postnatal life. The brain of a newborn child, however, is only one-quarter to one-third of its adult volume; it continues to grow postnatally according to a genetically determined programme of overproduction of axons, dendrites and synapses.

This exuberant increase in brain connections is complemented, from the age of four months onwards, by a concurrent process of dendritic pruning and synapse elimination which is driven by environmental influences.11 Those synaptic ...

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