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Fetal Functional Brain Connectivity and Language Development

Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab

Doctoral Fellowship to Sophie Mandl

Project nr. 26596

Duration 2023-2026

A previous project in our lab examined language abilities and language lateralization in healthy school-aged children and retrospectively analyzed the prognostic value of their fetal MRI (Bartha-Doering et al., Comm Biol 2023). The study revealed an association between prenatal brain characteristics and later language development in healthy children. It remains to be investigated whether these findings hold true in a larger, prospective study, and whether they also apply to children with neurodevelopmental deficits. The present project therefore employs different imaging techniques and neurodevelopmental examinations to prospectively investigate the prognostic value of prenatal imaging for language outcome in healthy children and  various patient populations.

Language development is a dynamic process that is influenced by the interplay of the child’s biology and the surrounding environment. Offering early intervention services can thus alter the developmental course. We hope that these results will play a role in providing early interventions for a potential risk group of children with developmental deficits.