Fetal Development

Patterns of neglect and abuse can change the developing brain. This can negatively impact the person’s life after birth. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. p 195. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002.)

ADHD is a brain-based condition attributed to genetics (50%) and to injuries occurring primarily prenatally and at birth (50%). About 5%-6% of children ages 4-16 are likely to be ADHD. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 110-115. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Exposure to alcohol during gestation can cause faulty cell (neuron) migration in the fetus. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) babies tend to have low IQ scores in childhood and severe reading/math disabilities, as well as maladaptive behavior, hyperactivity, and depression. The first 6 weeks of pregnancy are the most crucial. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 27-28. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

The embryo cannot make amino acids on its own (used to assemble the proteins that are required for brain and body development). Amino acids must be obtained from the mother who gets them from the food she eats. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. p 66-68. NY: Penguin Books, 2002.)

Using ultrasound, researchers observed fetuses who were experiencing amniocentesis (eyelids still fused at time of testing) respond fearfully—pulling away from the needle, defensively covering themselves—and sometimes aggressively by attempting to hit or kick the needle. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.

Measures of circulating hormone may be diagnostic only because they reflect the levels of androgen that prevailed during pre-natal development when brain structures were being established as male or female. Studies: exposure to perinatal androgen increased a tendency toward play fighting in females. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. p 116-119. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989.)

Soon after their birth neurons begin occupy different areas in the growing neural tube that will form the brain. This is under the direct control of a special set of homeotic genes. Some scientists believe that autism might be due to a mutation of homeotic genes that leads to faulty brain construction and connection. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. p 66-68. NY: Penguin Books, 2002.)

Conscious memories recorded in language or retrievable into rational thought of the day of birth will be lost. But the limbic brain and body remember. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 87. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Brain cells begin to form as early as three weeks after conception and they multiply more rapidly than other body cells. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. p 13. NY: Doubleday, 1987.)

By the end of the sixth month of gestation, most of the brain cells are already in place. (Harris, Maureen. Music and the Young Mind. p 1. NY: MENC with Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009.)

Many reactions to the world are already present at birth. The mind is not a blank slate. The brain has many innate predispositions, yet is born unfinished, open to development. The seeds of adult abilities are present from the beginning. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD. The Roots of the Self. p 17, 23, 38. NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 1995.)

The brains of infants are not a blank slate. They have made up their minds during gestation (in a variety of ways) after about 6-7 weeks. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 20-12. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

At the end of the gestational period, the brain is about 2/3 of its adult size but weighs only 10% of its eventual weight. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 19-20. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.)

A range of things can damage the developing brain and nervous system during gestation including: mother’s emotions; physical environment; what the parents eat, smoke, drink, breathe, sniff, or carry home on their clothing. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 66-69. NY: A Dutton Book 1998.)

Lack of appropriate nutrition (e.g., malnutrition) can adversely impact the fetal brain (e.g., at higher risk for learning problems). (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 62. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Reptilian brain begins its functions in 1st trimester. Mammalian brain begins its functions in 2nd trimester. Neocortex begins its functions in 3rd trimester. The pre-frontal lobes begin their functions primarily after birth. (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. p 246-248. VT: Park Street Press, 2002.)

Human brain development starts soon after the sperm penetrates the egg. The first weeks and months are a time of furious cell production and overproduction, with 250,000 primitive nerve cells created every minute. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 23. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Females start developing in utero at a faster rate than males and this faster rate of growth is maintained by the female throughout childhood and up to the age of about 17 ½ years. (Montague, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. p 149. NY: Collier Books, 1952, 1974.)

Pre-birth life in the womb profoundly influences a child’s long-term health and behavior. Womb conditions are equally, if not more important, than one’s genes in determining how the person performs mentally and physically during life. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 155-156. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Variations in androgens (male sex hormones) and estrogens (female sex hormones) can affect both body asymmetry and the degree/direction of gender differentiation in the brain:

  • Excess androgen in female embryo (male-differentiated brain with male appearance and behavior). If there is no androgen, excessively female apperance and behvior as in Turner's syndrome.
  • Excess androgen in male embryo ("super" male, aggressive, hairy, etc).
  • Excess estrogen in male embryo (female-differentiated brain with male apperance and behavior).

Body asymmetry: Men and women with larger right testicles or breast tend to exhibit more typically masculine behavior (aggression, spatial ability, math proficiency); those with larger left testicles or breats tend to exhibit more typically feminine behavior (nurgurance, verbal ability).(Howard, Pierce J., PhD.The Owner's Manual for the Brain, Second Edition. p 215-221. (GA: Bard Press, 2000)

Baby can be born with a female brain in a male body, or with a male brain in a female body. Once a brain is set into its male or female structure the intervention of hormones does not affect it (hormones do effect the unformed brain). (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 24-32. NY:Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

Estimates: 90% of females have primarily female-wired brains with 10% having brains somewhat masculinized (due to a dose of male hormone 6-8 weeks after conception). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 55-60. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Female brain has greater functioning in memory and sensory intake. Comparable greater functioning in the male brain is in spatial tasks and abstract reasoning. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! p 30. CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001.)

The fetal brain grows slowly and somewhat unevenly. Different parts of the brain become susceptible at different times to sex hormones (e.g., testosterone). One part of the brain can be masculinized while another remains untouched. (Fisher, Helen. The First Sex. p xviii-xix. NY:Random House, 1999.)

More males than females are brain-injured at birth. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 38. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

Estimates: 80%-85% of males have primarily male-wired brains with 15%-20% having brains somewhat feminized. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 55-60. NY:Broadway Books, 1998.)

If XY chromosome pattern and there are normal testosterone surges in the middle months of pregnancy, the fetus will get a male brain. If testosterone levels are inhibited, the XY genetic boy may be born without male genitals, and/or without a male brain, and may be born homosexual. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. p 8-10. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996.)

Work by East German scientist, Dr. Gunter Dorner. Describes three centers of development: sex center, mating center, and gender-role center. Dr. Dorner thinks that homosexuality might be able to be prevented with pre-natal injections of androgens. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 114-116. NY:Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

Sex hormones can cause permanent changes in developing organs and in the brain. During gestation sex hormones influence whether the brain will develop in a male or female fashion. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones. p 61, 95. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

Work by American scientist Dr. Milton Diamond. Describes four stages of brain development: basic sexual, sexual identity, sexual choice, and sexual control centers. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 114-116. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

All brain systems are dynamic and move in two directions, upward and downward (see also Brain Layers, Regions, and Structures under Brain, General). (Pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. p 24-25. VT: Park Street Press, 2002.)

The brain is wired during gestation. Differences are most noticeable after puberty when the brain becomes fully activated as a result of being bathed in hormones. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. P215-221. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Boys and girls develop their internal wiring differently, which has a profound effect on how they act, live, and learn. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! p 42. CA: Jossey-Bass, 2001.)

Estimates: 80%-85% of males have primarily male-wired brains with 15%-20% having brains somewhat feminized. 90% of females have primarily female-wired brains with 10% having brains somewhat masculinized (due to a dose of male hormone 6-8 weeks after conception). Includes a brain-wiring test. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 55-60. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Cells migrate at different rates and at different times. By 5 months of age the cells are in place to form the cerebral cortex. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 168-175. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

There is increasing evidence of a primitive memory stored at the sensory level beginning during late gestation. They are unconscious and preverbal and are often held and expressed in specific parts of the body. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 42. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Refer to Cellular Memory and the Brain for additional information.

Choline (found in egg yolk and lecithin) is required for the brain to create acetylcholine, critical for memory functions. In fetal brains, choline helps dictate the architecture and wiring, and thus the intellectual capacity of the brain after birth. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 286-288. Collins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Cells for both male and female sex organs are contained in the fetal gonads. If the organism has a “Y” chromosome the gonads will gradually change into recognizable testes. If there is no Y chromosome, the gonads will change into ovaries. Sex hormones can cause permanent changes in developing organs and in the brain. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex hormones. p 59-60. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

Occasionally something goes wrong and one of the sex chromosomes is damaged when the egg is fertilized. If the remaining undamaged chromosome is “X”, the egg may survive but if it is “Y” it cannot do so (see Turner’s Syndrome). (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different are They? p 10-11. NY: Oxford University Press, 1984.)

Most people inherit a set of 23 chromosomes from each of their parents (for a total of 46). Each chromosome contains genes which tell the cell how to make the thousands of proteins in your body. (DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes-Harvard Medical School reviewed.)

The XY (male) chromosomal unit is more frail than the XX unit in the womb. This fragility continues after birth. (Ornstein, Robert. The Roots of the Self. p 27. NY: HarperCollins Publishing, 1995.)

Study: Blood flow through the placenta can be reduced by up to 38% in pregnant women who smoke (e.g., can result in changes to the fetal brain such as lowered IQ and higher risk of developing ADD/ADHD). (Williams, Jill S. NIDA NOTES. p 8. MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Volume 18, Number 6, Feb 2004.)

Study: The results of cocaine use are similar to those of alcohol. Cocaine interferes with transfer of nutrients and can decrease the amount of oxygen that travels from the placenta to the fetus, causing impaired growth of the fetus’s body and brain. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 27-29. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Communication is a process that begins during gestation. (Tomatis, Alfred A, M.D. Editor Timothy M. Gilmore, PhD, et al. About the Tomatis Method. p 20-24. Canada: Listening Centre Press, 1989.)

About 120 males are conceived for every 100 females; 105 boys are born for every 100 girl babies. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 52. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

High quantities of testosterone impact the female fetus in a variety of ways (e.g., more tomboyish, energetic, prefer boys as playmates). (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 118-122. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

The brain makes its first appearance as a crest of cells from which brain cells will emerge. Most congenital (present at birth) brain defects result from the disruption of the normal programs of neuronal growth, development, and migration. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. p xiv-xv. Washington D.C.: The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001.)p 32-34.

Refer to Cerebral Hemispheres (Brain Function) for more information.

There seems to be a link between increased rates of both suicide and juvenile criminality and being unwanted. In one study, all cases of suicide attempts (in adolescent boys) took place at the same time of the year as their mothers had tried to abort them, a fact that none of the adolescents had consciously known. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 94-05. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

200,000 babies born in USA each year with deficits; 30-35% inherit a gene or chromosome anomalies (e.g., Down’s). Of the other 65-70%, contributory factors include: avoidable exposures to alcohol, tobacco smoke, medicinal/recreational drugs, toxic agents); dietary deficiencies (e.g., folacin); unnecessary stress. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 66-69. NY: A Dutton Book 1998.)

Several references to Dr. Milton Diamond his work with human sexuality/homosexuality and hormonal levels during gestation. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 100-103. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

Describes how this synthetic hormone acted on the developing male brain during gestation to feminize it. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 32-34. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

The sex hormones a person receives in early life may determine whether he/she will have a brain more like that of a male or a female. Females who were exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) during gestation or early in life tend to have more masculinized brains. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones. p 70-71. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is found in every cell except for red blood cells. It is composed of two long, thin fibers tightly coiled together (uncoiled DNA from a single cell is about 5 feet long) so it can fit into the cell. (DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes Harvard Medical School reviewed.)

Reasons for antisocial behavior in children may include the fetuses’ exposure to and experience of domestic violence before birth. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 94. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Studies: some children in Dominican Republic appear to be female at birth, are raised as children, and then develop male genitalia at puberty and start functioning as males. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 95-103. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

Studies of cases of chemical deficiencies in both Dominican Republic and New Guinea. Boys were born looking like girls, were raised as girls, and then at puberty developed into typical males. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 34-36. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

Dr. Gunter Dorner, a German physician, has done studies of human sexuality/homosexuality and hormonal levels during gestation. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 90-186. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

Study by Dr. Harry Broening, Dr. Charles Vorhees, and colleagues at the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation and University of Cincinnati: unborn children of ecstasy users may suffer deleterious effects that last into adulthood. (Williams, Jill S. Prenatal exposure to ecstasy may impair memory and cognition. p 8-9. NIDA NOTES, Volume 17, Number 3.)

Many factors can impact embryonic brain development (e.g., mother’s diet, the air she breathes, drugs she takes, cigarettes she may smoke, her level of stress, antibodies she makes to fight off infections). (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. p 66-68. NY: Penguin Books, 2002.)

The mother’s emotional states during gestation impacts the baby’s brain. Excessive fear, anger, or anxiety may produce irritable and hyperactive infants. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. p 13-15. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989.)

The early years including the in utero period are critical and sensitive for the development of neuron function and neural pathways. The neurons and pathways involved in emotions and behavior, and language and literacy are very sensitive to the early period of brain development. The early neural pathways are not as plastic as some of the other pathways that form later. The brain architecture and function that forms early is hard to change by the time the children are in the school system. (Mustard, J. Fraser, MD. Investing in the Early Years: Closing the gap between what we know and what we do, 2008. p. 13.)

In 1994 researchers measured the impact on the fetus of a mother watching short clips of a violent movie. The fetus became agitated as measured by heart rate and movement. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 53. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Refer to Emotions and Feelings for additional information.

Select a few musical pieces and play to the fetus, and they may calm the baby after birth (e.g., Air on a G String by J.S. Bach. Other examples include slow steady selections by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi). (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 97-99. NY: Dutton, 1998.)

The developing fetal brain is extremely sensitive to its environment. Lists several striking cases of influence (e.g., smoking, alcohol, cocaine, malnutrition, toxins). (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 27-30. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Genes are not like robot actors who always say the same lines in the exact same way. It turns out that they interact with their surroundings and can say different things depending on whom they are talking to. This obliterates the long-standing metaphor of genes as blueprints with elaborate predesigned instructions for eye color, thumb size, mathematical quickness, musical sensitivity, etc. Now we can come up with a more accurate metaphor. Rather than finished blueprints, genes—all 22,000 of them—are more like volume knobs and switches. Think of a giant control board inside every cell of your body. Many of those knobs and switches can be turned up/down/on/off at any time—by another gene or by any miniscule environmental input. This flipping and turning takes place constantly. It begins a moment a child is conceived and doesn’t stop until she takes her last breath. Rather than giving us hardwired instructions on how a trait must be expressed, this process of gene-environment interaction drives a unique developmental path for every unique individual. (Shenk, David. The Genius in All of Us. P 16. NY:Doubleday, 2010)

The science of Epigenetics involves the study of the molecular mechanisms by which environment controls gene activity. Meaning “control above genetics,” epigenetic research has established that a variety of environmental influences (e.g., nutrition, stress, emotions) can modify genes without changing their basic blueprint and this can be passed on to future generations. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 67-68. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Refer to Cellular Memory for additional information.

The fetus begins to develop expectations about the self and others from the time of late gestation and birth (e.g., anticipating responsiveness or indifference). (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 4. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

The layout of fingerprint patterns is finalized about 16 weeks after conception. (LeVay, Simon and Janice Baldwin. Human Sexuality. p 108-109. MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc., Third Edition, 2009.)

Shortage of food during pregnancy and nursing can trigger brain damage (e.g., 1st trimester may have neural tube malformations such as spina bifida; 2nd trimester may have too few neurons; 3rd trimester may have incomplete myelination and brain growth). (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 82-83. NY: Dutton, 1998.)

Lack of appropriate nutrition (e.g., malnutrition) can adversely impact the fetal brain (e.g., at higher risk for learning problems). (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 62. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Refer to Care of the Brain for additional information.

Refer to Nutrition and the Brain for additional information.

Neurons differentiate to perform distinct functions, first by traveling to a specific site, and then by helping neighboring neurons make connections and develop colonies. Accurate migration can mean the difference between normal and abnormal functions. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 23. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Each human being could be placed on a continuum somewhere between superfeminine to hypermasculine. Placement depends on the amount and timing of hormones to which the fetus was subjected during pregnancy. (Fisher, Helen. The First Sex. p xviii-xix. NY: Random House, 1999.)

Genes are not like robot actors who always say the same lines in the exact same way. It turns out that they interact with their surroundings and can say different things depending on whom they are talking to. This obliterates the long-standing metaphor of genes as blueprints with elaborate predesigned instructions for eye color, thumb size, mathematical quickness, musical sensitivity, etc. Now we can come up with a more accurate metaphor. Rather than finished blueprints, genes—all 22,000 of them—are more like volume knobs and switches. Think of a giant control board inside every cell of your body. Many of those knobs and switches can be turned up/down/on/off at any time—by another gene or by any miniscule environmental input. This flipping and turning takes place constantly. It begins a moment a child is conceived and doesn’t stop until she takes her last breath. Rather than giving us hardwired instructions on how a trait must be expressed, this process of gene-environment interaction drives a unique developmental path for every unique individual. (Shenk, David. The Genius in All of Us. P 16. NY:Doubleday, 2010)

Genes plus hormones determines the sex. An XX chromosome pattern plus male hormones may result in a baby looking like a normal male, while an XY chromosome pattern deprived of male hormones results in a baby looking like a normal female. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 20-24. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

In the final stages of egg and sperm maturation, genomic imprinting adjusts the activity of genes that will shape the character of the child yet to be conceived. It makes a difference whether you were conceived in love, haste, or hate, and whether or not your mother wanted to be pregnant. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 172-173. CA: Mountain of Love / Elite Books, 2005.)

Studies on the brain’s adaptation to chronic fear and anger: Changes in hormone levels can be permanent in the individual’s lifetime, and the altered chemical profile may become encoded in the genes and passed on (e.g., subsequent generations may become successively more aggressive). (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 167-168. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Glial cells seem to aid in the migratory process (of neurons). They give rise to fibers that extend toward the brain’s surface. By climbing the glial trail, neurons find their homes (see also Segregation). (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. p 69. NY:Penguin Books, 2002.)

Neurons are fed and guided by glial cells that form a path along which the neurons migrate. After the neurons reach their destination one type of glial cell controls metabolism, another coats the axons with myelin and controls speed of information conduction. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 24. NY:Vintage Books, 2002.)

In the fetus, glial cells form the scaffolding that regulates the survival and differentiation of neurons. Glial cells allow the rest of the nervous system to develop. (Jessen, Kristjan R. Cells in Focus: Glial Cells. Int J Biochem Cell Biology. 36:1861-1867, 2004.)

Refer to Glial Cells – the Other Brain for additional information.

A tissue sample the size of the head of a pin from a 28-week-old fetus contains 124 million synaptic connections. The fetal stage and the first 2 years of life are the period of most rapid brain growth. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 31. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.

The Y chromosome may trigger release of a substance called H-Y antigen that changes potential ovarian cells into testicles. Abnormalities can result if antigen is not produced or cells are insensitive to it. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 100-110. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

The fetus hears sounds during the last 4 months of pregnancy (e.g., digestive gurgling, heartbeat) at a level of 72-84 decibels (normal speech is 65 decibels). Can’t distinguish these sounds but does distinguish the mother’s voice (e.g., comes through at approximately 84 decibels). (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 17. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Studies: The fetus can hear and remember things spoken in a regular, unmagnified voice during the last few weeks before birth. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 98-99. NY: A Dutton Book, 1998.)

Refer to Cerebral Hemispheres (Brain Function) for more information.

Hemaphrodites are true bisexuals: one active ovary and one active testis. They could impregnate themselves, but are usually raised as either girls or as boys. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 90-186. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

Most homosexual orientation develops during gestation. Patterns tend to be firmly in place by age 5. Discusses lack of success of change therapies (e.g., push bisexuals to confine behaviors to opposite sex only, or enforce celibacy, or push the individuals to attempt suicide). (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 171-186. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

The trauma of growing up gay in a world that is run primarily by straight men is deeply wounding in a unique and profound way. Straight men have other issues and struggles that are no less wounding, but they are quite different from those of a gay man. ( Downs, Alan, PhD. The Velvet Rage. Overcoming the Pain of Growing up Gay in a Straight Man’s World. p 5-6. NY: Da Capo Press, 2005. 2006.)

If XY chromosome pattern and there are normal testosterone surges in the middle months of pregnancy, the fetus will get a male brain. If testosterone levels are inhibited, the XY genetic boy may be born without male genitals, and/or without a male brain, and may be born homosexual. (Gurian, Michael. The Wonder of Boys. p 8-10. NY:Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1996.)

Study of 944 men, Psychologist Anthony Bogaert of Brock University in Ontario Canada: Risk of being gay increases with number of older brothers. Some mothers may develop antibodies to male fetuses and, in subsequent pregnancies, the antibodies may impact portions of the fetal brain that determine sexual orientation. (Klein, Joe. Born Gay, the Brother Factor. p 55. TIME, July 10, 2006.)

There is an endocrine basis for homosexual preference if fetal development is interrupted and mother’s androgens are interfered with at the time of sexual differentiation in the brain. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females (Audio). CO:Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Refer to Lesbian (below) for additional information.

Refer to Sexual Orientation and the Brain for additional information.

The organization of the brain is influenced by the same hormones from the gonads that affect the rest of the body. Exposure to sex hormones during fetal development can affect the way in which the human brain works. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones, Why males and females are different. p 63-69. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

Male and female hormones given to a mother in late pregnancy can affect the degree of dependency of the child: male hormones push the child towards greater self-sufficiency, and female hormones cause a greater degree of dependence. (Wilson, Glenn. The Great Sex Divide. p 110-111. England: Peter Owen Publishers, 1989.)

Male hormone levels for boy babies are typically 4 times the levels of infancy and boyhood. Surges of male hormone occur about 6 weeks after conception (when brain is taking shape) and at adolescence (when sexual behaviors emerge). (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 24-28. NY:Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

The human brain is programmed by hormones before birth. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 155-156. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

At least seven events during pregnancy can influence the level of hormone in the unborn childe (e.g., exercise, renal dysfunction, chromosomal mutations, chromosomes, barbiturates). (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 215-221. GA: Bard Press, 1994, 2000.)

Sex hormones create masculinization over time, so males can be more or less masculine. Females can be masculinized but not defeminized. (Durden-Smith, Jo, and Diane deSimone. Sex and the Brain. p 104-117. NY: Arbor House Publishing, 1983.)

A stressful experience can have a very powerful effect on body levels of sex hormones, almost always causing them to fall. In men, testosterone levels can fall during war, hospitalizations, or during final exams at school. In women, stress can cause the menstrual cycle to lengthen or shorten. (Arnold, Caroline. Sex Hormones. p 75-76. NY: William Morrow & Company, 1981.)

The brain is a sex organ. The hypothalamus is key part of the brain in controlling sexual behavior. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 24-28. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

Prenatal injuries to the brain during pregnancy can give rise to distortions found in the brains of many violent criminals. Intrauterine conditions and early experiences in infancy can lead to future violent behavior. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p xiii, 54. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Infants begin to learn language during gestation, listening to the rhythm, melody, pitch, and intonation of their mother’s words. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. p 63. NY: Random House, 1999.)

Although the two hemispheres share performance of many functions, each also specializes in performing certain unique functions (termed hemispheric lateralization). Lateralization seems to be less pronounced in females than in males. (Tortora, Gerard J. and Sandra Reynolds Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. p 476. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.)

Refer to Laughter–Humor and the Brain for additional information.

Research related to infant recognition of story portions read aloud by mothers during pregnancy: a child becomes familiar with certain sounds while in utero and begins associating those tones with comfort and security. (Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook. p 29. NY: Penguin Books, Fifth Edition, 2001.)

A lesbian is defined as a female body with a masculinized brain. Rates approximate one (1) lesbian for every 8-10 gay males. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 171-186. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Refer to Homosexual (above) for additional information.

Refer to Sexuality and the Brain for additional information.

Brain and hormone differences exit even in utero (e.g., male babies tend to be aggressive and kick the mother more). (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! p 39. CA:Jossey-Bass, 2001.)

Four differences: girls have greater verbal ability; boys have greater math and visual spatial-ability, and are more aggressive both verbally and physically. (Viorst, Judith. Necessary Losses. p 116-118. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1986.)

Babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancy display altered responses to visual stimuli, increased tremulousness, and a high-pitched cry, which may indicate problems with neurological development. (Research Report, Marijuana Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse, US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. NCADI website: www.health.org NIDA. Website.)

Infants have the ability to remember things implicitly (nonconsciously) at birth or even before (in utero). Explicit (conscious) memory begins to develop near the end of the first year of life. (Wilson, Timothy D. Strangers to Ourselves. p 56-57. England:The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002.)

For one-week old fetuses, the miscarriage rate is about 50%, mostly due to genetic errors in the developing body. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. p 21-23. NY:Penguin Books, 1997.)

Morning sickness may reflect the body’s method of trying to eliminate potential toxins from the mother’s diet. (Marcus, Gary, PhD. The Birth of the Mind. p 150-152. NY:Basic Books, 2004.)

Current information suggests that movement is the fetus’s earliest functioning sense. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 20. NY: Bantam Books, 1985.)

Several researchers have found that a fetus will quiet to Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Studies: Babies started talking 3-6 months earlier when exposed to prenatal music stimulation (than those who were not). Once in school, they were ahead in cognitive development, and also could memorize musical material quickly and almost effortlessly. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 98-99. NY: A Dutton Book, 1998.)

Auditory perception may be earliest trigger for fetal recognition of outside world. It reacts to music and to unstructured noise with movements. (Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. p 8-10. NY: Ballantine Books, 1992.)

Studies: Fetuses preferred Mozart and Vivaldo to other composers. Rock music drove most fetuses to distraction and they kicked violently when it was played to their mothers. Refer to Dr. Thomas Verny in The Secret Life of the Unborn Child. (Amen, Daniel G., MD. Change Your Brain Change Your Life. p 206-208. NY: Times Books, 1998.)

Refer to Music and the Brain for additional information.

If a male fetus does not get the appropriate pre-birth hormone treatment, his brain is likely to remain more typically female; if a female fetus gets exposed to a male-pattern hormonal sequence, she is likely to be more typically masculine. (Carter, Rita, Ed. Mapping the Mind. p 21. CA: University of California Press, 1999.)

Who you become depends not just on your genes and your environment in the womb, but equally on your experiences during childhood. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. p 95. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002.)

The position of each twin in relation to the placenta (e.g., front child, back child, spleen or liver child) can result in differences in blood supply, hormonal levels, and other factors that are not intrinsic to the genes of the twins. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 33. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Studies by Randy Jirtle, PhD, We can no longer argue whether genes or environment has a greater impact on our health and development, because both are inextricably linked. ('Epigenetics' Means What We Eat, How We Live And Love, Alters How Our Genes Behave.)

There is such constant interaction from the moment of conception between nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) that you cannot say which plays the major role. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. p 8-9. NY: Doubleday, 1987.)

Neuron proliferation begins within the first 4 weeks of development and is complete by 24 weeks. The process of neuronal migration to their intended location in the brain begins at about the same time and tapers off by about the 30th week. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52-53. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

In the first month after conception, the human brain begins to develop. Approximately 250,000 neurons are generated each minute, so within six months most of the billions of neurons have been created. Shortly after their creation, neurons become differentiated, assume specialized roles, migrate to their assigned position, and form synapses so they can store information and communicate with each other. (Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 2. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

During gestation, the neurons migrate to various regions of the brain. There is a lengthening list of disorders, including autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, and schizophrenia that may be caused in part by a migration problem. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 23. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

The process by which neurons differentiate to their specific functions begins at approximately 14 weeks of gestation and continues through the first year of life. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52-53. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Most of a person’s neurons are formed during gestation. At some stages nerve cell division is so rapid that 250,000 new neurons form every minute. Before birth the brain grows to 2/3rd of its adult size, but only about 10% of its eventual weight. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 17-26. CT:Millbrook Press, 1998.)

At peak production about 250,000 neurons are being generated per minute (neurogenesis). Synaptogenesis (the creation of new synapses between existing neurons) probably occurs up until the moment of death. (LeDoux, Joseph. Synaptic Self. p 66-68. NY:Penguin Books, 2002.)

About 250,000 new neurons are generated each minute during the peak of cell proliferation. (Restak, Richard, MD. The Secret Life of the Brain. p 8. Washington D.C.:The Dana Press and Joseph Henry Press, 2001.)

Refer to Neurons and Neurotransmitters for additional information.

The human fetus is most sensitive to neurotoxins (e.g., ecstasy, alcohol, nicotine) during the first trimester. (Williams, Jill S. Con. Writer, National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prenatal exposure to ecstasy may impair memory and cognition. NIDA NOTES, Volume 17, Number 3. p 8-9.)

Smoking seems to do the most damage during the last four months of pregnancy. Children exposed to nicotine during gestation may experience delays and difficulties in performing the basic tasks of infancy (e.g., contact, sucking, and head turning). (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 69-70. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Nicotine can reduce blood flow in the uterus and placenta by causing constriction of blood vessels. It decreases fetal heart rate and breathing movements, and exposes it to carbon monoxide. Nicotine can interfere with the natural migration of neurons, their connections, and the modulating effect of dopamine. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 27-30. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

Studies of fathers: Toxins in smoke can reduce sperm count and increase risk of fathering a child with learning deficits, hyrocephalus, or facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy). Of mothers with direct or side smoke: can reduce child’s stature, hearing, maturation rate, and IQ scores by average of 9 points. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 78-80. NY: A Dutton Book 1998.)

Study: the sound of a door being slammed shut may startle the fetus in the womb. (Storr, Anthony. Music and the Mind. p 25-28. NY: Ballantine Books, 1992.)

Baby monkeys whose mothers are exposed to a major stress while pregnant show the signs of that stress in their temperament, displaying an inhibited temperament reflected in their altered levels of noradrenaline and dopamine. (Quartz, Steven R., PhD, and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. p 126. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002.)

Dr. Anthony de Casper has recently demonstrated that French babies (whose mothers repeated the same nursery rhyme while pregnant) recognized it after birth. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 52. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Lack of appropriate nutrition (e.g., malnutrition) can adversely impact the fetal brain (e.g., at higher risk for learning problems). (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 62. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Refer to Nutrition and the Brain for additional information.

A new medical specialty that studies how nutrients, vitamins, supplements, and other lifestyle factors can be utilized to increase brain power. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p xix. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Study of 11 875 pregnant women: After adjustment, maternal seafood (Omega-3s) intake during pregnancy of less than 340 g per week was associated with increased risk of their children being in the lowest quartile for verbal intelligence quotient (IQ). (Hibbeln, Joseph R., MD, et al. Maternal seafood consumption in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes in childhood (ALSPAC study): an observational cohort study.)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and retina and is believed vital for normal brain development of the fetus and infant as well as for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life. Fish oils are rich in DHA. DHA is also commercially manufactured from microalgae (for vegans and vegetarians). (Source)

There is some evidence that the fetus may be able to experience pain. “Anand's seminal work on the use of fentanyl with neonates undergoing surgery demonstrated that the major hormonal response to invasive practice could be significantly reduced with fentanyl added to the anaesthetic regimen.” (Derbyshire, Stuart, PhD. The Science and Politics of Fetal Pain.)

Some factors can have a direct physical effect on sperm and egg even before a child is conceived. These include: poverty, poor nutrition, smoking, drinking, drugs, alcohol, and violence. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 66-69. NY: A Dutton Book 1998.)

The three sensory systems are operational long before birth.

The kinesthetic system begins functioning at about 26 weeks.

By 35 weeks the fetal brain is able to respond to sound and can build auditory memories

The fetal brain can respond to light at 27 weeks, and by 30 weeks (studies of preemies) may be capable of gazing at patterned stimuli.

(Multiple studies in discussion with brain researchers.)

There is evidence to suggest that the fetus can hear, see, taste, feel, and experience movement throughout the last half of pregnancy, and that these capabilities don’t change dramatically at the moment of birth. (Ludington-Hoe, Susan, PhD, with Susan K. Golant, MA. How to Have a Smarter Baby. p 15. NY:Bantam Books, 1985.)

Refer to Senses and the Brain for additional information.

Essentially, the father determines the sex of the child. (Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain. p 21-23. NY: Penguin Books, 1997.)

All fetuses look much alike for first 6 weeks. By the 6th week, if the embryo is genetically programmed to be male, the “Y” chromosome transforms a cluster of cells (primordial gonad) into testes that begin to produce male hormones. If the fetus is to be female nothing happens until about the 12th week when the female system begins to produce female hormones. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 79. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

The embryo has all the equipment to become either sex. In the 6th week if the embryo has inherited a “Y” chromosome from its father, a gene signals the start of male development. In both sexes, hormones begin to prepare the brain for the changes of puberty a dozen years away. (U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. p 50. August 8, 1988.)

Your sex is decided long before the time of birth. The decision is made and implemented by biological forces. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different are They? p 12-13. NY: Oxford University Press, 1984.)

There is an endocrine basis for homosexual preference if the mother’s androgens are interfered with at the time sexual differentiation occurs in the brain. Stress to the mother (e.g., abuse, abandonment) had been associated with a decrease in available androgens during the 16-26th weeks of fetal development. (Joy, Donald, PhD. The Innate Differences Between Males & Females Audio. CO: Focus on the Family, 1967.)

Female is the default plan. Even if a Y chromosome is present, if male hormones do not alter template the fetus will be born looking like a female. (Fisher, Helen. The First Sex. p xviii-xix. NY:Random House, 1999.)

All fetuses start out female. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! p 41. CA:Jossey-Bass, 2001.)

The embryo will become female unless it has a “Y” chromosome that leads to the formation of testes that produce testosterone. If the testes fail to produce testosterone the result will be a genetically male child with female genitals. (Nicholson, John. Men and Woman: How Different are They? p 11-12. NY: Oxford University Press, 1984.)

For the first 6 weeks following conception, all fetuses are essentially the same and indistinguishable. Describes changes to genetic male fetus beginning about 6 weeks and to genetic female fetus at about 12 weeks. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? p 79. NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985.)

The natural template of the brain seems to be female. That is, the brain develops into a female pattern unless dosed with androgens during gestation. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 24-26, 115. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

The basic template for human brains and bodies is female. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. p 55-60, 171-172. NY: Broadway Books, 1998.)

Refer to Sexuality and the Brain for additional information.

Studies: Male brain tends to use left side for verbal abilities, the right side for visual (more specialized). The female brain tends to use both sides (more generalized). The more female the brain, the more diffused the brain functions. Males who were exposed to below average amounts of male hormone in the womb were found to have a female pattern in the distribution of their skill functions in the brain. (Moir, Anne, and David Jessel. Brain Sex. p 42-44. NY: Carol Publishing Group, 1989, 1991.)

Ultrasound shows fetus making facial movements that resemble smiling. (Imrdkl, A Smiling Fetus is a Happy Fetus.)

Refer to Nicotine (above).

Refer to Substances and the Brain for additional information.

Approximately 8%-10% of sperm from healthy males who have no history of heritable genetic disease are abnormal, which may be a critical factor in miscarriages, still births, low birth weights, some types of cancer, and behavior and learning difficulties. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 226-227. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Research has shown a clear correlation between an insufficient intake of folic acid and a high incidence of spina bifida. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 29. NY: Vintage Books, 2002.)

If the environment is stressful when the levels of serotonin and noradrenaline are being set in the developing fetus or infant, patterns may be altered for a lifetime. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 43-44. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Adrenal steroids produced during pregnancy (due to chronic anxiety, fear, maltreatment) pass through the placenta and impact the fetus. The fetus may have reduced intellectual development or fail to bond with the mother in preparation for birth. (Woodman, Marion. Addiction to Perfection. p 16-17. Canada:Inner City Books, 1982.)

Studies: Sustained stress during the first months of pregnancy may correlated with the development of hyperactivity in the child after birth. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 62. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Refer to Stress and the Brain for additional information.

By 15 weeks gestation, taste buds are beginning to detect taste differences in the amniotic fluid due to the presence of varying chemicals. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 51. NY: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

Chemical or physical agents that can cause fetal malformations (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, lead, cocaine). When prenatal stress occurs simultaneously with exposure to teratogens, the effect on the developing brain may be profound. (Karr-Morse, Robin, and Meredith S. Wiley. Ghosts from the Nursery. p 57-60. NY:Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997.)

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