An Amazing fund of knowledge That first year of graduate school had begun with a challenge: The first-year seminar was equally memorable for the loads of volumes he would pull — magician-like — from his briefcase as he made his way through any given topic.
That gave encouragement to others that rigorous experimental work addressing brain-behavior relations was possible in infants.
It also fundamentally altered the scientific understanding of PFC early in development; clearly it was not silent as accepted wisdom had held. Even though PFC is very immature early in life and takes a very long time to develop, it can already subserve elementary versions of the highest cognitive functions during the first year of life.
Diamond went on to facilitate many of the earliest collaborations between developmental and cognitive scientists, on the one hand, and neuroscientists on the other. She provided the first demonstration of a visual deficit in treated PKU children which changed international guidelines for the age of treatment onset.
No one had ever done anything like that. Again, the answer lay in integrating two fields. Neuropharmacologists studying the mesocortical dopamine system in rats had shown that if there is only a modest reduction in the dopamine precursor, tyrosine, PFC is selectively affected.
To test that hypothesis, Diamond again turned to work in both humans and animals. They were thereby able to demonstrate the mechanism causing the deficits that had so confounded those working in inborn errors of metabolism, and to demonstrate that the deficits could be prevented by stricter dietary restrictons.
Midway through, Diamond learned that the dopamine system in the retina shares the same unusual properties as those that cause PFC to be sensitive to reductions in available tyrosine too small to affect other brain regions. To be consistent, she had to predict that retinal function would also be adversely impacted in children treated for PKU, so she ventured into vision science to investigate that together with pediatric optometrist, Dr.
Two superficially unrelated behavioral effects a selective cognitive deficit and a selective visual deficit were found to have same underlying cause. An animal model of early-treated PKU. Journal of Neuroscience, 14, Diamond, A.
Impaired sensitivity to visual contrast in children treated early and continuously for PKU.
Prefrontal cortex cognitive deficits in children treated early and continuously for PKU. Cognitive deficits in a genetic mouse model of the most common biochemical cause of human mental retardation. Journal of Neuroscience, 19, A model system for studying the role of dopamine in prefrontal cortex during early development in humans.
Reprinted in Reader in brain development and cognition. One discrepancy troubled Diamond, however. The visual deficits were not.STRUCTURL ENINEERING S eminar Series Earle Brown Heritage Center Earle Brown Drive Brooklyn Center, MN Tuesday, January 30, Achieving Durability in Post-Tensioned Structures: A Look at Lessons We Have Learned (Or Need To) Tuesday, February 6, Where Have All the Good Sites Gone?
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