Via Live Science:
Very early in life, neurons in the brain begin forming connections with one another. But it turns out that during normal development, a startling number can link up to the wrong cells and must be pushed back in the right direction, according to a new study on baby mice.
The finding, detailed Feb. 8 in the journal PLoS Biology, could shed light on brain disorders such as autism, according to one researcher. Mice are often used as a model for human biology, and the researchers think a similar phenomenon occurs in humans.
An international research team made their discovery by observing the development of the cerebellum – a region of the brain responsible for motor control and also linked with attention, language and emotion in humans. During the first three weeks after a mouse is born, the neurons of the cerebellum connect to one another by forming synapses.
[Continues at Live Science]