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the first 1000 days: promoting healthy brain networks

30 June 2021


BabyPaL Principal Investigator, Dr Rebecca Lawson is a selected performer for the Wellcome Leap, $45M 1kD program! Congratulations Dr Lawson!

We all know what a difference a day makes. The first 1000 days can make all the difference to a child’s start in life, perhaps more so than we ever understood before.

In this early period, we develop critical cognitive abilities, such as executive function (EF) and self-regulation. By the end of the first 1000 days, a child’s individual EF performance changes their odds of dealing successfully with opportunities and obstacles they face in life. Well-developed EF improves a child’s chances for lifelong physical, neural, and mental health; reduces the pace of aging; and underpins greater productivity and prosperity. Indeed, if EF is underdeveloped it has significant consequences. We know that children with underdeveloped EF at age 3 represent about 20 percent of the population, but make up nearly 80 percent of adults who are likely to require some form of societal or economic assistance. So how do we assess and promote healthy development in the first 1000 days?


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