Newborn Olfactory Memory Deficits as a Harbinger of Childhood Cognitive Disorders
Alexander Drobyshevsky of Northshore University HealthSystem in the U.S. will test whether olfactory learning in newborns can predict cognitive learning and behavior later in childhood. Current tests of learning and memory can only be performed in infants from 4 months old. However, if defects are identified earlier, treatment may be more effective. Olfaction is one of the earliest developed senses and plays an important role in the first days of life. Using a rabbit model of different brain injuries they will measure odor response in newborns and later analyze cognitive performance to link them together. They will also recruit around 100 human newborns and measure their olfactory memory, which will be followed up by cognitive testing when they are 18 months old.