NIH to Solicit Grant Applications for 5-Year Baby Connectome Project

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to Launch the Baby Connectome Project with Support from Wyeth Nutrition

Partnership to Unlock the Mysteries of How the Brain Develops in Young Children

June 10, 2015 10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

FLORHAM PARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wyeth Nutrition, a global leader in infant nutrition, and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) today announced a five-year partnership that will provide significantly more detailed views of the brains of healthy children 0 - 5 years old. The Baby Connectome Project (BCP), a research initiative of the National Institutes of Health, will lead to better understanding of how the brain develops from birth through early childhood and will uncover factors contributing to healthy brain development. The findings will be published for the scientific community, providing an unprecedented view of how a healthy brain develops and works.

“New knowledge from the Baby Connectome Project will be tremendously useful in understanding function and how early interventions may shape our brain throughout our lifespan.”

“With all of the recent progress researchers have made in understanding the human brain, the intricacies of early brain development remain mostly uncharted,” said FNIH President and Executive Director Maria C. Freire, Ph.D. “New knowledge from the Baby Connectome Project will be tremendously useful in understanding function and how early interventions may shape our brain throughout our lifespan.”

The goal of the BCP is to provide robust data about how the developing brain functions during the first five years of life. For example, scientists believe that early, consistent exposure to language has a positive impact on learning and development. What is not known is how genetic and other environmental factors shape the brain; until now, investigators have had limited means to explore these questions. But with the rapid evolution of brain-mapping technologies that show how the structures and functions of the brain develop over time, science is now equipped to answer many more questions.

To provide a more complete understanding of the brain, the BCP will map human brain connectivity with genomic, environmental and behavioral data. From this research, the BCP is hoping to garner additional insights into how children acquire the capacity for motor skills, cognitive thinking and speech, and learn if the development of these skills can be influenced in positive ways.

“The Baby Connectome Project is designed to advance global understanding of early brain development, which complements our mission at Wyeth Nutrition to nourish and support the healthy development of infants and toddlers through science-based nutrition,” commented Mike Russomano, Wyeth Nutrition Global Head. “This partnership with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health marks an important milestone in our century-old heritage of scientific innovation.”

Beginning in 2015, the NIH will be soliciting grant applications from institutions to carry out the five year BCP study. Study parameters will be set by the NIH, which will independently assess all data outcomes.

About the Baby Connectome Project

The Baby Connectome Project is a five-year study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health with support from Wyeth Nutrition. The study will map the quantitative datasets of human brain connectivity in children 0 - 5 years old and identify factors that could contribute to healthy development. Findings from the study will be made public for the advancement of scientific research. For more information, visit http://www.neuroscienceblueprint.nih.gov/connectome/.

About Wyeth Nutrition

For the past 100 years, Wyeth Nutrition has pioneered innovative nutrition science with premium-quality products that meet the needs of infants, young children and adults. Through innovative discovery research, high-quality clinical trials, world-class manufacturing and product safety standards, we deliver scientifically sound solutions that offer parents confidence, help nourish children and support healthy futures. By partnering with mothers, doctors and scientists, we continue to discover and learn what is needed to ensure the best advancement for the health and well-being of future generations. To learn more about Wyeth Nutrition, visit www.wyethnutrition.com.

About the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health creates and manages alliances with public and private institutions in support of the mission of the NIH, the world’s premier medical research agency. The Foundation, also known as the FNIH, works with its partners to accelerate key issues of scientific study and strategies against diseases and health concerns in the United States and across the globe. The FNIH organizes and administers research projects; supports education and training of new researchers; organizes educational events and symposia; and administers a series of funds supporting a wide range of health issues. Established by Congress in 1996, the FNIH is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. For additional information about the FNIH, please visit www.fnih.org.

 

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