How does the brain develop in a fetus?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
During the first thirty days of pregnancy, the fetus's central nervous system begins to take shape. A long, flat structure develops that forms a groove and rolls up into a tube. One end of the tube starts to swell -- that's the brain. The rest turns into the spinal cord. By eight weeks into pregnancy, a large part of the brain is already formed. Now, the fetus is not doing long division just quite yet, but many parts of the brain are already in place: structures like the thalamus and the cerebral cortex, which are related to memory and learning. During the last few months of pregnancy, the brain grows and thickens and really begins kicking into action.
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