July 21, 2014
For babies, healthy brain development is like a tennis game. A caregiver "serves" up an interaction, like a facial expression, a coo, or a word, and the infant "returns" that serve, imitating the expression or sound. That "serve and return" is fundamental to developing and refining the tiny brain's wiring, according to Pat Levitt, a developmental neurogeneticist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, medical school professor at the University of Southern California, and expert on the affects of trauma and neglect on childhood development. He spoke to a group of reporters I was among last week as a USC Annenberg National Health Journalism Fellow.