How does the brain develop?

The brain is one of the body’s most complex organs and is at the centre of our nervous system. Exploring how the brain functions is necessary to be able to understand overall human health, which is why brain development is one of BINC key areas of expertise.

 Brain cells communicate

The brain is made of billions of brain cells called neurons that communicate with each other through specialized connections called synapses. A single neuron may contain thousands of synapses. The connections are not static and change over time. The more neurons connect with each other, the stronger the connection grows.

 Learning and practice

  • Learning changes the physical structure of the brain. Learning reinforces the connections between neurons.
  • Recurring experiences also strengthen the connections in the brain.
  • Like a muscle, brain can grow stronger and connections can disappear if unused.

The Brain grows fast:

The formation of new neurons and synapses is fastest at birth and throughout childhood as the brain learns to understand the world around.

Few facts 

A 4-week-old fœtus forms new neurons at a rate of 250’ 000 every minute.

From birth to the age of 3 a child sees the fastest rate of brain development of his entire life span.

At age 3 the brain has reached 80% of its adult size.

Check out this infographic to understand more about the basics of how the brain functions.

Brain development infographics