Studies on the Development of Behavior and the Nervous Systems, Volume 4: Early Influences discusses the effect of various exogenous factors on the early development of behavior and the nervous system. This volume is divided into three sections encompassing nine chapters that specifically consider the prenatal and postnatal effects of drugs, radiation, hormones, nutrition, sensory experience, trauma, and environmental enrichment.
Section 1 initially describes the principles of teratology as they apply to functional or behavioral manifestations of prenatally administered drugs. This topic is followed by discussions on the radiation effects on developing mammals; the mechanisms of malformation involved; the use of malformed animals to find correlations between developing brain and behavior; and radiation hazard prevention in humans. This section also deals with the influence of hormones early in life upon sex differences in the behavior of adults and the effects of prenatal stress on offspring behavior. Section 2 examines the significance of proper maternal nutrition in early brain development and the evidence for long-term effects of undernutrition during the brain growth spurt. This section also looks into the behavioral implications of the various methods for producing early undernutrition in experimental animals and their possible relevance to the human condition. Section 3 describes the manipulation of early sensory experience, from total removal of sensory input to modification of stimulus quality, and the effects of such manipulations on the auditory, gustatory, olfactory, tactile, and visual systems. This section also provides an overview of auditory maturation and the consequences of acoustic trauma in the adult.
This book is of great value to neurodevelopmental biologists and researchers.