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Measuring child's brain energy could be way to monitor development

July 09, 2019 - 6:16 pm

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — What organ do you think uses the most energy in a child?  

It is a trick question, because doctors debate about this and it is often difficult to measure. But most physicians will tell you that it is the brain that uses the most energy in a child. 

When children are five years of age, the brain uses almost half of the body's energy. Now, researchers at Northwestern University are suggesting that measuring brain energy in a child could be a way to monitor development.  

This is a case where new technology is actually leading scientists to look at creative ways of not only treating patients but using the knowledge to anticipate potential problems.

The researchers are not certain if their future studies will yield any dramatic results, but they won't know unless they try.