What did We Learn from the Structural and Functional Development of Fetal Brain Using Four-dimensional Sonography?

JOURNAL TITLE: Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Every human brain is a special, unique, and impressive organ and it does not fail to fascinate us every time with its endless possibilities and adaptation. New technology, such as four-dimensional ultrasound diagnostic devices, has gave us a chance to take a peek into the most complex, incredibly well-organized, and spectacular architecture of formation of fetal brain. Neuroscientists have made incredible discoveries about different structures and regions of the brain, and many elements of brain cognitive functions. However, what remains a great mystery is the interaction of different parts of the brain, in other words, that we are not entirely sure how individual parts of the brain exchange data and how and to what extent each is important and contributes to different patterns of behavior, feelings, or memory. Scientific research toward mapping the brain connections is on the way. Assessing fetal behavior in utero, its motor and cognitive functions, is one of the major challenges in perinatal medicine. Fetal behavior reflects the maturation and integrity of the fetal central nervous system (CNS). Understanding the course and timing of fetal neurodevelopmental events in relation to the development of motor and sensory systems is crucial to determining how environmental influences can affect certain structures as well as functions. With the Kurjak's antenatal neurodevelopmental test (KANET) it is possible, for the first time ever, to evaluate the neurological state of the fetus in real time and to differentiate normal, borderline, and abnormal fetal behavioral patterns. If the KANET score is normal, that is highly predictive of favorable neurodevelopment of the infant. On the other hand, if the KANET score is borderline or abnormal in a high-risk pregnancy, the child's postnatal development may appear abnormal. Thorough postnatal prospective neurodevelopmental (short- and long-term) follow-up of these children is highly recommended.

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