The goals of the proposed research are three:(1) to test children with brain damage localized to frontal cortex on tests (a) which have been linked specifically to frontal cortex function through neuroanatomical and behavioral studies with infant and adult monkeys and (b) on which we know the normal developmental progression in children. Important aspects of this work will be to look for converging evidence from diverse tests all linked to the same subregion of frontal cortex, and to attempt to dissociate performance on these tests from performance on tests linked to other neural circuits. The goal is to develop non-invasive tests capable of detecting frontal cortex damage in infants and young children. Presently such damage often goes undetected for many years because of the lack of such tests. (2) to investigate the relationship of dopamine levels to performance on these tasks, and to begin to investigate the hypothesis that the fundamental maturational change which underlies the emergence of cognitive abilities dependent on frontal cortex during infancy is increasing levels of frontal cortex dopamine. To do this, children with early-treated PKU, who have no known structural brain damage but who are vulnerable to reduced levels of dopamine will be tested. Because their general cognitive functioning is good, if deficits are found they are likely to be selective. If they are selectively impaired on tests of frontal cortex function, this will be the first demonstration in humans of a cognitive deficit on frontal cortex tasks from dopamine depletion alone. Because L-dopa and the dopamine precursor, tyrosine, can be taken orally, there is an excellent chance that if deficits are found, therapeutic interventions will be possible to alleviate any impairments. (3) to better understand the abilities required for success on tasks that depend on frontal cortex function. Hypotheses will be considered that suggest that memory for space, and/or time, or for relational information in general is dissociable from memory for other information and dependent upon frontal cortex function.

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Diamond, Adele (2007) Consequences of variations in genes that affect dopamine in prefrontal cortex. Cereb Cortex 17 Suppl 1:i161-70
Diamond, Adele; Lee, Eun Young; Hayden, Michael (2003) Early success in using the relation between stimuli and rewards to deduce an abstract rule: perceived physical connection is key. Dev Psychol 39:825-47
Diamond, Adele; Kirkham, Natasha; Amso, Dima (2002) Conditions under which young children can hold two rules in mind and inhibit a prepotent response. Dev Psychol 38:352-62
Diamond, A; Lee, E Y (2000) Inability of five-month-old infants to retrieve a contiguous object: a failure of conceptual understanding or of control of action? Child Dev 71:1477-94
Diamond, A; Churchland, A; Cruess, L et al. (1999) Early developments in the ability to understand the relation between stimulus and reward. Dev Psychol 35:1507-17
Diamond, A; Prevor, M B; Callender, G et al. (1997) Prefrontal cortex cognitive deficits in children treated early and continuously for PKU. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev 62:i-v, 1-208
Diamond, A (1996) Evidence for the importance of dopamine for prefrontal cortex functions early in life. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 351:1483-93;discussion 1494
Diamond, A; Taylor, C (1996) Development of an aspect of executive control: development of the abilities to remember what I said and to ""do as I say, not as I do"". Dev Psychobiol 29:315-34
Diamond, A; Herzberg, C (1996) Impaired sensitivity to visual contrast in children treated early and continuously for phenylketonuria. Brain 119 ( Pt 2):523-38
Diamond, A (1995) Evidence of robust recognition memory early in life even when assessed by reaching behavior. J Exp Child Psychol 59:419-56

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