Brain development, although largely driven by genetic processes, also is influenced by environmental factors. However, there has been little discussion in the psychiatric literature on the role of stochastic, or chance, events that take place during neurodevelopment. Studies suggest that the brain capitalizes on and regulates the extent of stochastic processes during development. Furthermore, because neurodevelopment is influenced by environmental factors, there is emerging evidence that fostering those positive environmental factors during prenatal and early life could optimize neurodevelopment and provide greater resilience, including those potentially resulting from stochastic processes. Evidence for the role of environmental factors in optimizing early brain development is supported by work in large population-based studies of child development, randomized control trials in high-risk populations, and early-life adoption studies. The public health message is that creating an environment that fosters optimal brain development during prenatal and early life could prevent psychopathology and provide the developing brain the best chance against negative stochastic processes and potential stressors that are inevitable later in life.

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Journal American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Journal
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White, T.J.H. (2019). Brain Development and Stochastic Processes During Prenatal and Early Life: You Can't Lose It if You've Never Had It; But It's Better To Have It and Lose It, Than Never to Have Had It at All. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Journal. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2019.02.010