As osteopaths working with OCF, we are already aware of the importance of the ‘reciprocal tension membrane‘ as Sutherland referred to it.
However, according to this research from 2011, the meninges also seem to have an important role in foetal brain development:
“Through the release of diffusible factors, the meninges influence the proliferative and migratory behaviour of neural progenitors and neurons in the forebrain and hindbrain. Meningeal cells also secrete and organize the pial basement membrane, a critical anchor point for the radially-oriented fibers of neuroepithelial stem cells”.
Seeing as much brain development occurs in the first year of life outside the womb, it seems possible that brain development could be affected by continuing deformity or strain within the membrane system, left over from the birth/perinatal process (study anyone?). The authors conclude with this:
“It is also clear that disruption of meningeal function either generally or focally can lead to significant disruption of (foetal) brain development. Future work will inevitably expand our understanding of the human syndromes where brain malformations are caused primarily by defects in meningeal development”.
Check out the PDF below for the full text.
“We’ve got you “covered”: how the meninges control brain development”
Julie A. Siegenthaler and Samuel J. Pleasure
Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 June ; 21(3): 249–255. doi:10.1016/j.gde.2010.12.005.
‘Meninges’ image By SVG by Mysid, original by SEER Development Team  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons