– A prominent gathering was held last April at UNICEF New York. Sixteen scientists – representing highly specialized fields as various as biology, chemistry, neuroscience, epigenetics, psychiatry, nutrition, and early childhood development – deliberated the weight of early experience on brain development and function. The experts discussed about the impact of early childhood development on individuals and societies, analyzing, in particular, which could be the best ways for UNICEF to improve children’s lives and health.

– These are the three key messages the scientists delivered to UNICEF:

  1. The relationship between genes and environment is closer than we ever imagined. Genes predict our brain development but it is experience that sculpts it.

  2. The brain is complex because it is not a homogenous organ but a highly inter-related and integrated organ.

  3. Early Intervention is the answer: it becomes progressively harder to fix problems.



Image: UNICEF/BANA2014-00573/Mawa