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fNIRS offers insight into cognitive effects of nutrition

A recent study by UCL’s Clare Elwell and colleagues used functional near-infrared spectroscopy to explore the impact of nutrition on infant brain development in Africa.

This was the first use of a brain imaging method to study localized brain activity in African infants, Elwell said. Until now, much of our understanding of brain development in low-income countries has depended on more subjective behavioral assessments. The study demonstrated the possibility of monitoring the brain activity of infants in these countries to reveal the first signs of cognitive dysfunction.

“We have high hopes of building on these promising findings to develop functional near infrared spectroscopy into an assessment tool for investigating cognitive function of infants who may be at risk of malnutrition or childhood diseases associated with low income settings,” she said.

Read more about the study here.