National Scientific Council on the
The Council is the Center’s flagship initiative on translating science into policy. This unique, multi-disciplinary, multi-university group of scientists and scholars synthesizes and communicates the science of early childhood and early brain development in order to inform public discourse and policy making. More >>
"Mapping Brain Connectivity"
The new field of “connectomics” aims to show how brains behave at a level not previously possible—examining how entire brains are wired together, how wiring changes as brains grow up, and how interactions with the external world affect this wiring. The Lichtman Lab at Harvard University, a partner in the Conte Center at Harvard, pioneered tools to potentially map every connection in a complete brain and has started to map the connectome in mouse brains. In this narrated, 15-minute multimedia presentation, postdoctoral fellow Bobby Kasthuri shares some of the results and insights from his work at the Lichtman Lab, using images and videos that show three-dimensional recreations of actual neural connections in the brain. He also discusses the future direction of this work in helping to understand how early adverse experiences affect connectivity.
The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain
Extensive biological and developmental research over the past 30 years has generated substantial evidence that young children who experience severe deprivation or significant neglect—defined broadly as the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness—bear the burdens of a range of adverse consequences. This Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. Read more >>
How Early Experiences Alter Gene Expression and Shape Development
This interactive feature describes and explains in simple terms how early experiences get into the body and change how genes are expressed, with lifelong consequences on developing organs, including the brain. Using an easy-to-follow slideshow format, this feature illustrates key scientific concepts from Working Paper #10: Early Experiences Can Alter Gene Expression and Affect Long-Term Development.
Reports & Working Papers
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These online slideshows describe and explain key concepts in the science of early childhood development and early childhood program evaluation research. More >>
Toxic Stress: The Facts
Learn about toxic stress response; how it differs from two other stress responses, positive and tolerable; and how it can be prevented or even reversed. More >>
Science has an important role to play in helping policymakers respond to complex social problems, including those affecting children. Yet the data do not always speak for themselves. More >>