Perinatal brain damage in children: neuroplasticity, early intervention, and molecular mechanisms of recovery

Prog Brain Res. 2011;189:139-54. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-53884-0.00022-1.


During the perinatal period, the nervous system is very vulnerable to insult. At this time, the brain undergoes fast and complex maturational processes such as synaptogenesis, arborization, and apoptosis, and the response to the insult is highly dependent on its exact timing. There is evidence that some of the neuroplastic mechanisms adopted by the young brain after damage are unavailable at a later stage of maturation. This applies, for example, to the reorganization of language, the sensorimotor system, or the visual system. Expanding our knowledge on these mechanisms could help the development of early therapeutic interventions aimed at supporting and enhancing functional reorganization at a time of greatest potential brain plasticity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Critical Period, Psychological
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Language
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology