Dependence of the Developing Nervous System on Nutrition and Hormones
While in the uterus, the fetus is relatively well protected from changes in the external environment, and the development of its nervous system is largely but not entirely under genetic control. However, the fetal nervous system is vulnerable to trauma, toxins, hyperthermia, infections, radiation, placental insufficiency, and severe maternal malnutrition. These risks increase greatly during and after birth, and the developmental processes that occur in the neonatal period are especially sensitive to external conditions. Some of the conditions which may damage the developing nervous system are considered elsewhere in this book: virus infections (Section 3.4.4), poisons (Sections 2.3 and 3.4.4), radiation (Section 3.4.4), hyperthermia (Section 3.8), and hormonal insufficiency or excess (Sections 6.2 to 6.6). Here, further consideration is given to the effects of malnutrition on the developing nervous system in mammals, and particularly in humans.
KeywordsGrowth Hormone Thyroid Hormone Nerve Growth Factor Chick Embryo Intelligence Quotient
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