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Your Environment. Your Health.

Children’s Environmental Health and Neuroimaging: Using Neuroimaging to Detect Developmental Pathways Perturbed by Environmental Exposures

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

February 9, 2018

brain with highlighted areas on a heat map
(Photo courtesy of Zaghloul Lab, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH)

Environmental health researchers are continuously seeking new approaches to advance their understanding of how environmental exposures affect human health, including children’s health. In this webinar, we heard from two researchers who are studying how prenatal exposure to various neurotoxicants and nonchemical stressors affect brain structure and function in newborn infants and children. We learned how these changes in brain features in early life may mediate subsequent neurodevelopmental outcomes. They described the different uses of neuroimaging technology and the translation of their results to environmental scientists, health care professionals, and parents.



Kim Cecil, Ph.D.

Kim Cecil, Ph.D., received her undergraduate and postgraduate training in chemistry. After a postdoctoral fellowship in magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, she joined the Department of Radiology and the Imaging Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1998. Her research efforts focus on the application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging in several populations by characterizing the features of inborn errors in metabolism and evaluating the effects of environmental neurotoxicants (such as lead, air pollution, flame retardants, and perfluorinated chemicals) and radiation, respectively, on brain anatomy and function.

Bradley Peterson, M.D.

Bradley Peterson, M.D., is interim chief scientific officer and director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and vice chair for research and director of child and adolescent psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. His research uses brain-imaging technologies to understand the origins of neuropsychiatric disorders by mapping the constitutional and environmental influences that confer risk for illness or protect against it, compensate for its presence, or mediate effective treatments. He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and mentored more than 50 postdoctoral fellows and junior research faculty members.

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