700 New Synapses Every Single Second

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NARRATOR: More than 80 billion brain cells. That’s how many a baby is born with. But it’s the connections between cells that matter. And most connections are not yet formed at birth.

Jack Shonkoff, Director, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University:

Beginning from the moment of birth, 700 new synapses or connections between brain cells are being formed every single second in all parts of the brain…that are responsible for everything from being able to regulate your feelings, to begin to learn language, to begin to understand how to interact with other children, to begin to solve problems. Joehly reaches for a toy above her. Connections that basically become the, the architecture and the foundation of who we are as people.

NAR: Johely is four months old. By the time she is three, her brain will have built trillions more connections than all the stars in our galaxy. Those intricate circuits start getting paved into wider, stronger highways, building the foundation for more complex skills like reasoning, impulse control, even compassion and trust.

Nehemias Calixto, parent (in scene)

How do we play, huh?

NAR: But Johely’s brain connections aren’t built on automatic pilot.

Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett, Pediatrician and Epidemiologist, Boston Medical Center:

They are reinforced by characteristics of your environment.

Karla Calixto, parent:

Como que presta mas atención a todo lo que uno...a todo la gente…

Nehemias Calixto:

She pays attention to everything, everything that you do.

Renee Boynton-Jarrett:

They are reinforced by experiences that you have. Joehly’s parents play with her on exam table.

NAR: Especially through the exchange of small everyday interactions between an infant and her caregiver.

Nehemias Calixto (in scene):

You happy, eh?

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