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Definition of Development

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Development: The process of growth and differentiation. The most important stage of human development occurs before birth, as tissues and organs arise from differentiation of cells in the embryo. This process continues until birth, and interruptions in development result in the most serious types of birth defects, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. The developmental process continues after birth, as an infant or child grows physically, develops basic brain-based abilities such as speech and hand'eye coordination, and learns. Interruptions in any of these processes can result in developmental delay.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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