critical period

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crit·i·cal pe·ri·od

1. in the first hours after birth, the period of maximum imprintability; the period before and after which imprinting is difficult or impossible;
2. in animals, a period following birth when the processes underlying the capacity for socialization are activated or stamped in;
3. Synonym(s): amblyogenic period
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

critical period

A point in a biological rhythm (biorhythm) that occurs when an individual crosses the middle of a cycle, either from a high to a low or a low to a high; during critical periods, the person is believed to be more accident- and illness-prone.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

period, critical 

A time after birth during which neural connections can still be modified by interference with normal visual experience or lesion of the visual pathway. If a person has an anomaly (e.g. amblyopia), the treatment is most likely to be effective during the earliest part of the critical period. In man it lasts up to about seven to eight years of age. If neural connections are impaired permanently during this period it will usually be impossible to repair later and the younger the child the more damaging it is. Example: binocularly sensitive cortical cells (stimulated by normal binocular vision) may never develop in uncorrected strabismus, or prolonged occlusion occurring during the critical period, especially before the age of three, and therefore the patient will not have binocular vision. Syn. plastic period. (However, this term relates more specifically to the time course during which the visual system is still responsive to treatment. This may differ from the critical period of development); sensitive period. See form-deprivation myopia; occlusion treatment.
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann

Patient discussion about critical period

Q. what is the most critical period of pregnancy where i should be more aware? to the environment , diet ... and things like that...

A. The most critical, is unfortunately, the period with the highest chances of the pregnancy not to be noticed - the first weeks of the pregnancy. During the first eight weeks of pregnancy the various organs of the body develop most substantially, also called organogenesis. This is considered the most sensitive period. However, the fetus may be sensitive to insults during the whole pregnancy, so other periods are not "safe".

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Modi applauded Rao for his leadership during one of the most critical periods in the history of India.
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A critical period is a developmental stage during which the nervous system is especially sensitive to environmental stimuli.
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It explains how the first two years of their lives are the most critical period - when babies grow, learn and move more than at any other time.
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