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cerebrum  The two connected hemispheres of the brain
cerebral cortex  The covering layer of the cerebrum that contains the cells that control specific functions such as seeing, hearing, moving, and thinking.
neuron  A cell in the body's nervous system, consisting of a cell body, a long projection called an axon, and several shorter projections called dendrites; neurons send and receive neural impulses, or messages, throughout the brain and nervous system.
neuron proliferation  The rapid proliferation of neurons in the developing organism's brain.
glial cell  A nerve cell that supports and protects neurons and serves to encase them in sheaths of myelin.
myelination  The process by which glial cells encase neurons in sheaths of the fatty substance myelin.
neural migration  The movement of neurons within the brain that ensures that all brain areas have a sufficient number of neural connections.
synapse  A specialized site of intercellular communication where information is exchanged between nerve cells, usually by means of a chemical neurotransmitter.
synaptogenesis  The forming of synapses.
neuronal death  The death of some neurons that surround newly formed synaptic connections among other neurons.
synaptic pruning  The brain's disposal of axons and dendrites of a neuron that is not often stimulated.
brain hemispheres  The two, left and right, halves of the brain's cerebrum.
corpus callosum  The band of nerve fibers that connects the two hemispheres of the brain.
hemispheric specialization  Differential functioning of the two cerebral hemispheres; for example, the control of speech and language by the left hemisphere and of visual-spatial processing by the right.
lateralization  The process by which each half of the brain becomes specialized for the performance of certain functions.
dyslexia  A term for the difficulties experienced by some people in reading and learning.
plasticity  The capacity of the brain, particularly in its developmental stages, to respond and adapt to input from the external environment.
cephalocaudal development  The notion that human physical growth occurs from head downward, that is, from brain and neck to trunk and legs.
proximal-distal pattern  The tendency for human physical development to occur from the center outward; for example, from internal organs to arms and legs.
iron-deficiency anemia  A disorder in which inadequate amounts of iron in the diet cause listlesnness and may retard a child's physical and intellectual development.
catch-up growth  The tendency for human beings to regain normal course of physical growth after injury or deprivation.
secular trend  A shift in the normative pattern of a characteristic like height that occurs over a historical time period like a decade or century.
obesity  A condition in which a person's weight is 20 percent or more in excess of average weight for his or her height and frame.
anorexia nervosa  An eating disorder in which the person, usually a young woman, is preoccupied with avoiding obesity, and often diets to the point of starvation.
bulimia nervosa  An eating disorder in which people, usually young women, alternate periods of binge eating with vomiting and other means of compensating for the weight gained.
puberty  The onset of sexual maturity.
pituitary gland  A so-called master gland, located at the base of the brain, that triggers the secretion of hormones by all other hormone-secreting, or endocrine glands.
hormone  A powerful and highly specialized chemical substance that interacts with cells capable of receiving the hormonal message and responding to it.
spermarche  In males, the first ejaculation of semen-containing ejaculate.
menarche  In females, the beginning of the menstrual cycle.
estrogens  Hormones that, in the female, are responsible for sexual maturation.
progesterone  A hormone, that in females, helps regulate the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus to receive and nurture a fertilized egg.
testosterone  A hormone that, in the male, is responsible for development of primary and secondary sex characteristics and is essential for the production of sperm.

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